Location: 21022-21148 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648. (714) 374-0083
Date: May 16, 2019 and January 30 & February 19, 2020
Cuisine: Vietnamese Fusion
Rating: Awesome flavors
LSXO, a concept-within-a-concept, inside Bluegold at Pacific City, is the brainchild of Chef Tin Vuong of Blackhouse Hospitality. Cuisine is inspired by District 1 in Saigon (where Tin’s family hails from) and dishes range from more traditional to innovative amongst a stunning hideaway overlooking the Huntington Beach pier. Behind an unmarked door adjacent to the wine room, guests are transported to District 1 (China Town) in Saigon via Blackhouse’s 28-seat restaurant-within-a-restaurant, LSXO. A spinoff of the Little Sister brand (Manhattan Beach and Downtown Angeles), LSXO is love letter to the culture, heritage, and lineage of Vietnam (Vuong’s relatives hail from the region). While Little Sister is known for its French Vietnamese menu, LSXO follows the same Southeast Asian inspiration with a more refined, expat feel.
LSXO draws inspiration from Southern Vietnam with a number of Chinese influences. While the menu is 90% different from Little Sister, a handful of signature dishes are offered, such as the Beef Tar Tare, Imperial Rolls, and Salt & Pepper Lobster. Lunch & Dinner items range from cold plates from the garde manger to salads, rice paper rolls, fish & shellfish, meat & poultry, both dry and soupy noodles, and banh mi (lunch only). A unique addition, LSXO debuts Afternoon Tea, featuring a selection of open-faced finger sandwiches, French pastries, and specialty sweets to complement an array of international tea blends
Bluegold is located on the top level of Pacific City at 21010 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, CA 92648. The restaurant serves California coastal cuisine alongside craft wines, beers, and inventive cocktails. Bluegold is open Monday-Sunday for breakfast, lunch, “in between,” and dinner (9am to close). For more information please call (714) 374-0038 or visit website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
LSXO draws inspiration from Southern Vietnam with a number of Chinese influences. Check out the cool Indochina-style room with it’s ocean views.
On my first visit, in May of 2019, our threesome was Foodie Core members Erick, Fred and myself, kicking back ocean-side to enjoy some Champagne and White Burg just hours BEFORE our epic and crazy evening white burg dinner.
Hot sauce! They have two different kinds of house-made hot sauce and a “sweet” fish sauce. All are fabulous.
From my cellar: 1996 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. 97 points. Taittinger’s 1996 Comtes de Champagne is another highlight. The flavors are only now beginning to show elements of complexity, a great sign for aging. Gently spiced and buttery notes suggest the 1996 is about to enter the early part of its maturity, where it is likely to stay for another decade or so.
Red curry spiced pork rinds, chili oil & scallions. Nice crispy shrimp chip textured pork rinds. A touch of heat. I expected more curry flavor.
Pickled cabbage, crushed peanut, chili. Light little snack/side.
Goi du du. Green papaya salad, Viet beef jerky, peanuts, chili lime vinaigrette. Awesome bright salad.
Beef tartare, Viet herbs, fried aromatics, quail egg, lobster rice crackers. Pretty decent meaty tartare.
“Ga xao xa ot” spicy lemongrass chicken. Fried garlic & dried chilies. This was the most incredible “fried chicken”. It had this sweet and tangy and crunchy thing going on and a really bright complex savory flavor.
Pho banh cuon with beef and tendon, herbs, lettuce, pickled onion. These can basically be seen as either deconstructed pho or pho flavored soft rice rolls. It’s a rice crepe roll, with the pho components, and a bit of a sweet and sour sauce. Great texture and flavor.
XO sticky rice, lap cheung pork flass, crispy shallots, slow egg, roasted chili vinegar. I’m all over anything with pork floss — and this had incredible flavor and texture.
Pork floss zoom! Gotta love the pork floss. It looks like insulation but tastes incredible.
Lamb belly with shrimp chips and herbs.
2001 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux. BH 89. A trace of wood spice frames expressive aromas of limestone, white flowers and obvious Chablis fruit that lead to bigger, richer, firmer and more penetrating flavors plus a finish that is both persistent and very dry. I like this very much as it offers a bit more precision than the Forêts.
agavin: reviewers were crazy because this is an amazing wine.
Fred: A bit of honey and ripe fruit on the nose. Almost like botrytis. However, on the palate there is good acidity with some waxy round texture. Very full but not flabby. A wonderful wine to start the day.
Lamb satay, egg noodle, mustard greens, long beans, fried garlic.
You mix this up. This dish was an 11. Now, I’m a noodle fiend, but it was amazing — rich with TONS of flavor — like a lamb satay.
1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon. 92 points. Fred writes: Excellent wine. Still incredibly youthful with a strong classic Leflaive flint signature. A bit more acidic and than than the 01 Raveneau Butteaux but both wines are just drinking superb right now. Plenty of lemon acidity and an awesome long finish.
Tom rang thit ba chi caramelized prawns with pork spare ribs and lardons. Awesome!
Viet braised Salmon in a claypot. This is a take on the tradition caramelized catfish (or whatever fish they use in Vietnam). I didn’t particularly love substituting the salmon. All those heavy oils settle with salmon.
A kind of beef tomato stew that was delicious.
The stew above came with this perfect baguette roll, chili butter, chicken liver paste, limes, and tangy pepper sauce. The combination of all of these on the rolls was a fatty foodgasm.
Chao. Confit duck & bamboo with aromatics, herbs. Served with cilantro, scallions, fried shallots & Chinese style savory crullers.
Toppings for the congree/chao. The congee (rice porridge) itself is very mild, but when you throw this stuff and both some of the sweet fish sauce and the house-made chili goo in — delicious!
Pork. Absolutely amazing grilled meat with stunning flavors.
Shaky Shaky Beef. Watercress, baby tomatoes, burnt butter soy with tomato garlic fried rice. A very nice version of the classic shaking beef, but not the most exciting of LSXO’s dishes — mostly because the others were so amazing.
Now, I do love Asian food of almost all varieties, and adore Vietnamese food, but LSXO is stunning in every way. Hard to imagine this is in a mall. The ocean views and light are spectacular as is the intimate room. And the food. For the most part it’s better than anything I had in Vietnam — even though some of that was amazing — because the ingredient quality and execution is so good. Basically it’s Vietnamese classics, but really elevated way above street food (with its fly infested meat and little plastic chairs). Of course you pay about 30X (compared to Saigon street food).
Also, Fred, Erick and I had a blast as we always do — and our wines didn’t suck.
I returned with my family in January of 2020. It was just as good and might possibly be the best Vietnamese restaurant I’ve been to — including Vietnam. It’s different than in Vietnam, and more “modernized”, but has incredibly good bright flavors and great ingredients. We also came back 2/19/20 for dinner — where there is a very slightly different menu — and had another fabulous meal.