When Nam An first opened, it was a refreshing new Vietnamese restaurant offering. I was enamored with the weekend special appetizers, bouncy noodles, late hours, and complimentary dessert.

It’s been a while since we’ve been back but I’ve heard that the quality has gone downhill. We went in for dinner on a Saturday night, as I was craving something nourishing, and Nam An offers a free range chicken pho. We were surprised to find the place absolutely deserted, with only one other table occupied.

Surf Clam Salad

I loved the spicy kick and the acidity of the dish. I just wish there were more surf clam pieces. Instead, the dish was littered with too much cilantro.

Filet Mignon Shaking Beef

This was much better. The beef cubes were extremely tender.

Free Range Chicken Pho

This comes with all the chicken organs, unless you request for them not to be included. My mom made us eat all the organs as a kid so I don’t mind eating them.

There were quite a few chicken pieces in the pho. The chicken was light with a hint of subtle sweetness. A ginger sauce accompanied the soup to dip the chicken pieces in for additional flavor, though the ginger sauce was a little weak.

That’s where the good ended for my bowl of soup though. The chicken broth was too light, and tasted overly sweet once it had cooled. The once fresh house made noodles were overcooked and mushy.

Seafood stir fried noodles

It was immediately apparent that the noodles were overcooked because they arrived broken up instead of in long strands. I also thought the dish was over seasoned with black pepper. While this was still the best of the bunch, it wasn’t nearly as good as the versions we previously had. For comparison, here was a previous version we ordered months ago:

I didn’t really sample the rest of the dishes, but here they are:

Beef stir fried noodles

Beef pho

Dinner still came with complimentary tapioca dessert.

Service was still pretty good, but overall, we left pretty disappointed with the food. It seems like Nam An is only a shell of what it once was and I wonder how much longer it will be open. You can read my previous post here with pictures of the menu. You can also read accounts from Nam An’s early days from mmm-yoso and Pink Candles of Ridgemont High.

Nam An
4690 Convoy St Ste 111
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 277-7788

   

12 Responses to “Nam An”

  1. Faye — March 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I have yet to visit this place. It looks pretty empty when I’ve driven past it thou. Was the surf clam fresh clams? Is it raw?

    I have a huge kick for chicken pho right now. I think it’s pretty much b/c of that ginger fish sauce on the side. Have you tried Bolsa in Mira Mesa – their chicken pho is quite nice.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

      I have not tried Bolsa. I will definitely need to check it out because I’m craving chicken pho still after a disappointing experience at Nam An. The surf clams were cooked.

  2. Iris — March 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Oh no, what happened? :( I was actually hoping to try this place out after reading your first post since you gave it such a great review, but never had the time to go. Sad to see that they’ve gone downhill since their grand opening.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

      Yeah I’m not sure what happened. I don’t know if the quality went down so people stopped coming. Or if people stopped coming so the quality went down. I’m quite sad. I really loved this place in the beginning.

  3. Carol — March 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Nam An. Think it’s time for a revisit!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

      The appetizer menu was still pretty good. Hopefully you have better luck with the pho.

  4. Sandy — March 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I went to Nam An once in their early days, but haven’t been back. I can’t remember what I ordered, so I guess it wasn’t very compelling for me to return! Bummer about the overcooked rice noodles.

    Bolsa’s chicken pho is their best dish. I’ve always been disappointed in their other offerings, but truthfully, I haven’t eaten there in a long time. I’ve been making chicken pho at home, but will have to make the ginger sauce to go with it soon.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 6th, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

      I can’t believe I’ve never been to Bolsa. I guess I’ll only try the chicken pho when I go though.

  5. caninecologne — March 7, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I went to Bolsa once and we really liked it there. The lady who works there is supernice. I had bun while my husband had the pho. We went there because Pho Hoa Calli (now called Pho Cow Calli) was too crowded.
    @Carol – if you do go again, hopefully you will not encounter glass shards in their ice!!!!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 7th, 2012 @ 10:20 am

      Now I really need to check out Bolsa. So many of you guys talking about it.

  6. Carol — March 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    @CC The glass shard was one of the reasons why I haven’t been back but I thought I’d give it another try since some friends were interested in going for our March luncheon. We’ll see.

    It’s been over a decade since I’ve been to Bolsa. Holy cow. I remember enjoying the pho.

    • Kirbie replied: — March 9th, 2012 @ 9:23 am

      Shard glass is a big turnoff..I forgot about that incident until I was writing up this post

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