Kim Anh’s Noodle House
Harahan: 6624 Jefferson Hwy. 504-739-9995. Map.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Kim Anh is the city’s best maker of pho–the famous Vietnamese beef and noodle soup. And given all the pho shops that have opened around the New Orleans area in recent years, that’s saying something. The key is the broth, which is purer and better-tasting than any other I’ve tried.
The menu consists almost entirely of variations on just three dishes, all of which involve noodles in various forms. Leading the list is the pho, made here with either beef or pork broth. You can have it with beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, or the distinctive, firm pork or beef meatballs. A big bowl or a bigger bowl. The broth is beautiful to all the senses, clear and full of subtlety. The flavor keeps getting better the more of it you eat. Then there are the grilled meats or shrimp atop of steamed noodles or rice, filling and good, with the grilled pork or shrimp being the best versions. Finally, you may be interested in the stir-fried meats and vegetables with noodles ranging from soft to crisp, suggestive of Chinese cooking. All of this is very well made, as are the handful of appetizers.
The history of this restaurant is tragic and inspiring. In 1995, two members of Kim Anh’s owning Vu family were gunned down at their New Orleans East restaurant by a rogue policewoman. They later reopened in the old neighborhood, only to be destroyed by the Katrina. The Vus persevered, moved the restaurant to Harahan, and press on with faith and terrific cooking.
It’s a minuscule restaurant, with just a dozen tables, in an unexpected location: Harahan, never known for high adventure in its few restaurants. Nevertheless, Kim Anh is always busy, enough so that you’d think they’d keep the place open later than eight in the evening, or on weekends.
»Vietnamese egg rolls (fried)
»Spring rolls (fresh)
Veggie spring rolls
»»Pho (beef noodle soup, served with choices of beef, meatballs chicken, or a combination)
Pork noodle soup
»Bun (soft, cool vermicelli topped with grilled pork, beef, shrimp, meatballs, shrimp on sugar cane, or small fried eggrolls, with fresh and pickled vegetables)
Stir-fried noodles with choice of meat
Rice platters (like the bun and stir-fried dishes above, but with rice instead of noodles)
Fried boneless chicken with vegetables
Beef with broccoli
Chicken with cashew nut
Shrimp in lobster sauce
Pork with vegetables
»Tofu with assorted vegetables
»Beef in curry and coconut sauce
Sweet and sour chicken
»Tapioca pearl smoothies (bubble teas)
FOR BEST RESULTS
They sometimes get so busy at lunch that you might have to wait for a place to sit down. It’s less congested earlier in the morning (like many Vietnamese places, they open rather early, at 10 a.m.)
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
What could these people do with a restaurant bigger than a walk-in closet?
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +3
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Dinner ends early (8 p.m.)
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations