A Vietnamese Restaurant in Eagle Rock that gets their products from local organic farms. Only in California.
You know what’s nice? Stepping in and revisiting a place that you haven’t been for a while. See if the review still holds up.
Blue Hen was the first Vietnamese Restaurant I’ve ever went to. Since then, places like Lemongrass have opened up, I’ve tried Gingergrass, and I’ve gotten my Pho on at joints like the Glendale Pho Company and the late, lamented Pho Citi.
Walking in again, after a couple of years, the place hasn’t changed much. It’s still small and comfortable. Very much the kind of place a couple of kids from Occidental College would come down and hang out in on a Friday night.
Probably explains why it so hard to park there.
Blue Hen is a nice little place, buried in the heart of a local strip mall. If you’re not careful (and I haven’t been on a few occasions) you can walk in and every table will be filled. (In that case, I recommend hustling over to Lemongrass). Its dark and intimate, so bringing a date there would count as a good idea. It’s also fun enough to bring a bunch of friends for lunch.
But still, Blue Hen is one of a number of Vietnamese joints run by…well…non-Vietnamese. At least on the surface. You peek back and look at the crew running that kitchen, and it’s basically the same faces you’d see at…well…any restaurant in town, much less a Vietnamese one. I’m not sure where the recipes come from. I’m not sure who’s the ownership in this case. It’s kinda like Gingergrass in that respect. It’s a mixed crew serving up Vietnamese food for a Hipster clientele. For the full-on Vietnamese-American experience, I think I still have to drive out to Rosemead and hang at Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, or Golden Deli.
But the thing of it is, I like Blue Hen. I’m comfortable there. I enjoy my food well enough, and I know it’s Organically healthy. The tastes are mostly right, or at least in the ballpark.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: In the past, I’ve had the Caramelized Ginger Chicken and Tofu. It come with a little bit of rice and a nice spot of Vegetables. Pair it with some Imperial Rolls, and you’ve got yourself a meal. I haven’t had the Pho there, but between Pho Citi and Saigon Noodle, there may be better places for that.
This time around, I went with the Blue Hen Sandwich…which for some reason is what they call their Bahn Mi.
See? This is what I was talking about. This is what makes me nervous. This is a Vietnamese joint, go ahead and call the dish by its Vietnamese name. Sometimes you go to the audience, and sometimes the audience has to catch up with you.
The Blue Hen Sandwich was good. Good bread. Good ingredients. They used Chicken, which threw me off a bit, in that it’s a softer, not quite as tasty meat as say Pork, but it was all right. It was also a nice size. You won’t feel like you’re eating a football when you come to Blue Hen.
I also go Mama Lulu’s Tofu as a side. Just a little pan fried Tofu and Market Greens, as a side dish. Lovely. Tasty.
And of course, I got the Lime Tonic. Just soda water, sugar and real lime juice. Perfect thing for a hot, muggy Summer afternoon.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Don’t be surprised if you got there, and the place is so packed that you’re waiting for a bit. If that happens (as it has to me), remember Lemongrass is just across the street.
I’m about to go into the Parking, but it needs to be said that…in the years since I’ve been to Blue Hen, the Mall where it resides has attempted to do…something about the parking.
By which I mean, they are stacking cars behind where you park.
Picture this, you pull into Blue Hen. Park right in front of the restaurant. Your headlights could light the place if you wanted them too. Behind you is a wall, that runs along Colorado Blvd.
Well, they’re letting cars park now along that wall. So even if you do get one of the good spots in front of the restaurant, you could be in for a bit of a difficult surprise when you try to pull out.
PARKING: You’d think it’d be plentiful, but it isn’t. Blue Hen is nestled in a pretty active strip mall along Colorado, and the parking lot it uses is also pretty active. When I’ve gone in the past for dinner, I’ve had to work to find the one, or two remaining spaces.
1743 Colorado Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Tel: (323) 982-9900
Monday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Friday: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, 5:30 – 10:00 pm
Saturday: 5:00 – 10:00 pm
Sunday: 5:00 – 9:00 pm