[Update: The Green Bowl is now closed.]
The Green Bowl is a new Vietnamese restaurant that opened in the Ralphs Shopping Center in Mira Mesa in January. The place is run by a very nice couple is the spot where a few pizza places have been (anyone remember Hungry Howie’s?). My folks visited the place before I did and told me I should check it out – so I did.
The first time I ever went by, the place looked like it was closed. There was no one inside, the “open” sign wasn’t on though the lights were so I skipped it. But then I just figured out that no customers were in there and I should just stop being shy about it.
When you walk in, there’s a large board above the register with a display of different banh mi sandwiches. There’s a regular menu you can grab and seat yourself if you’d deciding to eat in or you can place an order at the register.
For lunch, I just go in, grab a menu and a seat and someone comes over to take my order when I’m ready.
[Pho Beef Noodle Soup with Rare Steak – small, $5.70]
On one of my first visits, I tried their Pho with slices of rare steak. I had them put it on a plate for me (I was asked what I wanted them to do). I also got a small plate with bean sprouts, a few jalapenos, limes and some leafy stuff (sorry, don’t know what it was exactly). I put all of the onions into my broth since I love onions and placed the steak in a few pieces at a time to let it cook in the hot broth. The broth was much lighter in color than I’ve seen at other places and a little lighter on the overall flavor, too. I still enjoyed it and my dad really liked it a lot. It was very filling and the pieces of steak were very nice.
[Seafood Crispy Egg Roll – 4 rolls for $4.75]
On my first visit I also wanted to try some egg rolls and sprung for the Seafood Crispy Egg Rolls. I no longer have the older menu which described what seafood is in this, but I believe it was a mixture of shrimp, calamari and something else. Since I was sitting alone, the woman serving me offered to just make 2 for me instead of the standard 4 and I was grateful. It came with some sweet thai chili sauce as a dipping sauce on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes.
The flavor on these were wonderful – super crisp with a mixture of seafoods – nothing too fishy and not much filler that got in the way. Good stuff!
[Bun – Vermicelli Rice Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Egg Rolls – $7.50]
On another visit, I tried one of the Bun dishes with vermicelli rice noodles – I got it with grilled shrimp and egg rolls.
This came with the cold noodles on the bottom with a whole mess of shredded bright green romaine lettuce, cucumbers and a pickled carrot and daikon mixture with a bit of cilantro and roasted peanuts. A cup of sauce was given to me on the side, which I just poured over my dish. I mixed it as I went, eating bits here and there to make for a light and refreshing lunch. I always wish for a little more sauce with this dish but it’s still pretty good. The shrimp and egg rolls were warmed while the rest of the dish was cold. I loved the crunch from the cucumbers mixed in and I think of it as a cold noodle salad.
My mom really liked their Pork Noodle Soup which is something I don’t remember seeing elsewhere. She got the “Pork Neck Bone” soup once but the “neck bones” were a ham hock (so she told me). On another occasion I also tried the Shrimp Fried Rice, but I didn’t really enjoy it very much – it seemed to me to just be yellow rice, some grilled shrimp and a whole lot of peas in it (and I hate peas, so this made me sad). I wouldn’t recommend the yellow rice – too bad I forgot to photograph it.
When dining in the restaurant, whenever I’m done with the meal I just go up to the register to pay – they don’t usually bring me my check here. Just a tip!
All in all I hope the little restaurant makes it – I haven’t seen too many patrons go in during the lunch hour but I’m hoping it’s just getting started. If nothing else, I just want to come back and get more of those seafood egg rolls!
The Green Bowl
9430 Mira Mesa Blvd., #C
San Diego, CA 92126
Mon-Sat: 10:30AM – 9:00PM
Sun: 11AM – 8:00PM