Monday, April 20, 2015
Sen Yai Noodles - Pok Pok Does it Again
Recently, Fooditka and I were cruising around Division Street looking for something delicious to eat. Fortunately, the place we wanted to try was closed, so we popped into Sen Yai Noodles for a quick bite instead. I didn't realize it at first, but Fooditka pointed out that it's part of the Pok Pok family, so it should come as no surprise that the overall experience was a good one, and I will most likely be going back sometime soon.
Sen Yai is situated on the corner of 34th and Division, only a few blocks from its parent restaurant. It stands alone, in a pretty good sized space with plenty of room inside, and ample parking as well. There is nothing fancy about the place, but the general atmosphere is certainly inviting and friendly. There is an authentic feel to the dining room, with the artwork and general vibe conveying a real Southeast Asian flavor to go along with the food.
We were in the mood for a pretty light dinner; no apps, no dessert, just a quick bite on the way home. We each ordered one dish and a drink. Fooditka went with the Phat Thai, and I chose Kuaytiaw Reua, or "Boat Noodles". To drink I ordered the Pok Pok Bloody Mary, and Fooditka got one of the drinking vinegars that is another Pok Pok specialty.
Phat Thai - This is a pork heavy dish; the rice noodles themselves are cooked in rendered pork fat, and Fooditka also got some ground pork thrown into the mix. It was a very tasty dish, a little peanuty, and very flavorful with all of the pork. The stir-fried eggs, tofu, and radishes all went really well with that delicious Pok Pok fish sauce that seems to flavor so many of their dishes so well. Overall it was a delicious choice.
Boat Noodles - This dish was delightful as well, and pretty different from Fooditka's. They both have noodles, but that's about all they have in common. It's a big bowl of dark broth with two kinds of beef, house-made meatballs, spinach, chilies, herbs and bean sprouts. The dish had a little heat to it that crept up slowly, and by the time I was done slurping the last of the broth from the bottom of the bowl, my bald head was covered in a fine sweat. The dish was so flavorful that I didn't really notice until after I was done. I'd highly recommend it if you like hearty soups and spicy noodles.
Service and Cost:
The service was o.k. Not great, and not bad; I think the waiter gave me the wrong noodles with my dish, but I was pretty hungry and not about to send it back. As you can tell from the above remarks, I still enjoyed it immensely. The overall cost was not expensive, each dish went for about $11.00, although my Bloody Mary seemed a little pricey at $10. I wouldn't order it again, but other than that I was happy with the overall experience.
Sen Yai Noodles - 3384 SE Division Street Portland, OR 97202