The former ISE Japanese Restaurant quietly reopened a few months ago with a new name and menu. But it seems that most of Winston-Salem has yet to take notice.
The restaurant at 121 Stark Street, near Hero House and just off Stratford Road, is now called Pho & Sushi Vietnamese & Japanese Cuisine. It had been open since 2002, first as Ishi and later as ISE.
The restaurant is owned by Peter Trang, a native of Vietnam. Trang also has a second ISE restaurant, which opened in 2014 in Cloverdale Shopping Center.
The ISE restaurant on Stark Street closed last April after a fire in a bathroom. The fire was attributed to faulty light fixture, and though the $25,000 damage was fairly contained, it took some time to repair the restaurant.
Now the interior looks much the same as it did before the fire. The restaurant, which reopened in October, also still has the extensive sushi menu it was known for. But new is a whole page of pho, noodle dishes and other Vietnamese specialties.
Trang took advantage of the closing to change the menu, apparently to take advantage of a void in this market. You can get pho in half a dozen Japanese restaurants in town, but Winston-Salem still lacks a full Vietnamese restaurant. Pho & Sushi only gets us about halfway there, but we have to commend Trang for his efforts.
Manager Diana Pelep said she and the chef are actually from Micronesia. “Micronesia is tropical, in the Pacific, but we eat a lot of the same things as the Vietnamese,” she said. “That’s why it’s not hard to work here.”
The Cloverdale ISE is still open, and its menu remains unchanged — offering a full range of Japanese hot teriyaki, hibachi and noodle entrees, as well as a large sushi menu. That same sushi menu is served at the new Pho & Sushi, along with a handful of Japanese appetizers, such as pork dumplings, seaweed salad and edamame.
In addition to the traditional sushi and sashimi platters and rolls, Pho & Sushi offers a long list of sushi chef specialties. These include the hot shot roll of spicy tuna, spicy crab, cream cheese and cucumber that is topped with salmon and jalapeno ($10.95); and the flaming lobster roll, with 10 tempura pieces from a ½-pound lobster tail, asparagus and avocado with a sweet and spicy sauce ($19.95).
The Vietnamese menu includes 10 different phos ($8.95 to $12.95). Each is a large bowl of broth and noodles serve with cilantro, basil, jalapeno and other garnishes on the side. Each features a different protein, including thinly sliced beef, meatballs, shrimp, chicken and tofu.
The special vermicelli dish ($11.95) is basically a giant salad bowl of noodles, lettuce and cucumber, topped with shrimp, pork and fried spring roll. Other dishes include stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp ($11.95), pork fried rice ($8.95), lemongrass chicken ($8.95), and crispy noodles with beef and mixed vegetables ($11.95).
The restaurant also has a selection of pad Thai dishes, and such vegetarian entrees as vegetarian egg noodles ($8.95).
Pelep said that the restaurant is offering live music every other Saturday.
Despite the fairly large selection of Vietnamese dishes, the restaurant doesn’t quite offer the experience of a restaurant that serves a 100 percent Vietnamese menu, such as is available in more than half a dozen restaurants in Greensboro. But for Winston-Salem diners, it’s a start.
As Pelep said, “My customers are saying, ‘This is good. Now I don’t have to run to Greensboro.’”
Source: Google News : http://www.journalnow.com/home_food/food/restaurant-reopens-with-mixed-vietnamese-japanese-menu/article_6e05a3b8-a655-50d4-8821-86164e175e37.html