Photo by Jenn Ocken

Dish: Ava Street Cafe’s vermicelli noodles

Ava Street Café’s vermicelli noodle bowls deliver the palate-teasing interplay of flavors that Vietnamese cuisine is known for. Chef/owner Ethan Huynh starts by marinating chunks of pork butt in soy sauce, five spice powder, sugar, lemongrass and fish sauce, then grilling them until charred and tender. They’re a key component in this layered dish, which also features a tangle of cooked noodles, scallion oil and generous pile of mint leaves, leaf lettuce, bean sprouts, diced English cucumber and pickled carrot and daikon. The sweet/savory accompanying sauce, made with fish sauce, honey, sugar, water, vinegar and garlic, ties the elements together, and a dab of sambal oelek (chili paste) delivers a fiery kick. Versatile by nature, Ava Street’s vermicelli bowls can be ordered with other proteins, like chicken or shrimp, or as vegan-friendly with grilled vegetables or tofu.

Ava Street Café

5207 Essen Lane