There was a time not too long ago when getting friends to come into Brooklyn was a difficult thing to do. Even though my neighborhood is literally across the river from downtown Manhattan and just a stop away, not many people wanted to make the trek to one of the other boroughs of the city. But with all the gentrification, Brooklyn is now considered cool and trendy. I suppose that’s a good thing, though I do miss a bit of the quiet now.
One positive outcome of all the economic changes is the influx of new restaurants. With the rents going up, many businesses are cropping up further east of the river. One of these is Little Mo, an Asian restaurant in Bushwick. I’ve never heard of it, but my friend Q invited me to join her for lunch there one recent Sunday. We met up in the West Village after her work shift and took the train back into Brooklyn. Two others were to join us, G and J, but only G was able to make it. By coincidence, he ended up on the same subway as us though we didn’t actually meet up until we all arrived at the subway stop. I hadn’t seen G (or J) in a very long time, so it was nice to say hi and catch up.
Q had learned of Little Mo through a customer at the shop she works at and had been there before, but it was the first visit for me and G. I had taken a quick look at the menu beforehand but couldn’t decide what to order. Q told me she was planning to order pho though I thought the day was far too hot for that. The classic pho is a weekend-only special so that was her reason for choosing it. G and I were debating among the other menu items but in the end, we too ordered the pho as well; at least the restaurant had air conditioning which helped keep us cool while eating hot soupy noodles.
I must admit that the pho was really good. The broth is made of beef and oxtail broth and is very flavorful. Beside noodles were bone marrow, slices of rare ribeye beef and meatballs and the usual accompaniments of bean sprouts and scallions. And on the side were lime wedges, slices of chili peppers, and basil to add in (which I always do). And of course, there were bottles of sauces (hot sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce) on the table to make it as spicy, salty or sweet as one wants.
In addition to the pho, we ordered two appetizers as well: fried chicken wings with spicy Thai sauce and spring rolls. The latter were not what I was expecting. Spring rolls usually mean the crispy, fried rolls stuffed with meat and veggies served in Chinese restaurants. What arrived are actually the ones most Vietnamese restaurants around town call summer rolls. The rolls were fine but the chicken wings were definitely a highlight.
The food was really good and we were able to see what the rice bowls look like when they were brought out for other diners. They look just as delicious and G eventually ordered one to take away for dinner. The rice bowl looked very hearty and filling so maybe it was a good thing I didn’t order it for lunch. But I do want to try it one of these days, so there’s definitely a reason for me to return one day.