Hawaii has the plate lunch, Japan the bento box, and the American South, a “meat + three combo plate.” A new entry in the genre—a four-dish lunch of Vietnamese soul food for $10—will soon appear at Rose VL at 6424 SE Powell Blvd.
Last year the strip-mall eatery opened as a nighttime offshoot to 82nd Avenue’s famed HA VL. Rose VL quickly earned Portland Monthly’s tag as the city’s premier soup shop of 2016, serving two regional Vietnamese bowls daily plus banh mi sandwiches and killer Vietnamese ice coffee.
And beginning May 2, owners Christina Luu and William Vuong are expanding with lunch hours, Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Only one menu will be available: a “chef’s choice”—whatever Christina is cooking that day with a side of soup, rice and vegetables. You might find a rarely-seen Southern Vietnamese dish of caramelized pork and boiled eggs braised in coconut juice or sweet catfish steaks, which Luu bubbles in caramel sauce until each piece is coated in a sticky mahogany sauce. Soups will draw from Luu’s vast repertoire; perhaps pumpkin squash or sweet-and-sour fish soup.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t tried the couple’s dinner-only VL Special Noodle Soup, it’s time to head over for a taste. This is one of the city’s food treasures: a dry noodle bowl heaped with flavors, aromas, herbs, and pork cracklings. Toss it all together with chopsticks and drizzle in the side of intensely porky broth. Your tongue will laugh. Call ahead to find out which night it’s on the roster.
Rose VL Deli
6424 SE Powell Blvd