303 Culver Blvd
Los Angeles, CA | MAP
WHAT TO EAT: Breakfast Mi Sandwich
EATER TIP: No water available, so try some Alkaline H2O from the market
After reading a recent review on LA Eater, I couldn't wait to try ASAP Phorage because of its close proximity to my home. I drive by it all the time, so why not find out if it could be my newest hot spot?
On a lovely sunny Sunday, Stacy and I drove alongside the shimmering coast to check it out.
We arrived at 9:21 in the AM. I anticipated a crowd of bustling, breakfast-obsessed foodies to greet me at the door, but there was no crowd.
There was... nobody.
It was quiet, too quiet. Not even the store owner was posted at the cash register like you'd normally expect to see when entering a care-free convenience store.
I began thinking to myself: waaaait a minute — is this one of those secret password places where I have to knock on a knick-knack to the beat of "Apples and Bananas" to open a hidden door!?! My stomach began to whimper.
FUN FACT: The ASAP here stands for Asian Sandwiches and Pho
Whew!! Thankfully a few seconds later, a man in an apron appeared out of thin air and started prepping lettuce leaves on a countertop 10 feet from where I was standing. I focused on studying the menu, which was designed just the way I like 'em — two-toned, succinct, and non-laminated.
Stacy started with the one of ASAP's 4 specialty drinks, an Espresso Vietnamita, while I went to grab a bottle of alkaline water from the store. The store owner told me that ASAP (sister restaurant to Phorage) has existed for a little over a year.
Although it was the breakfast menu that originally got my taste buds tingling, I started with the Washugyu Beef Pho. Before even squeezing my lime, I got very excited at the sight of the tender slices of rare steak.
The steak, brisket, and side fixings were all wonderfully fresh, but I wasn't digging the broth — not horrible, but it was a bit on the sweet side for me. In addition, the noodles were slightly undercooked and sticking to one another.
It was your typical overpriced, non-Vietnamese pho (which is all too common on the west side of LA). Nevertheless, I still finished my bowl becaaaause... I'm a fatty.
The next dish I had was the Shaking Beef Hash, one of ASAP's five breakfast offerings served Wed-Sun 7:30AM to 11AM. At first glance, the plate looks like two gorgeous sunny side-up eggs concealing something underneath. That something is a heavy portion of super soft morsels of flavorful beef married with scattered chunks of taters.
The best part of this dish is sliding your fork into the golden sphere of yumminess and letting the oozy yolk slooowly drip down and coat the beef underneath (cue Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On").
Stacy ordered the Breakfast Mi Sandwich, and boy was I glad she did! All it took was one bite of this beaut and my big round cheeks were smiling. Well-balanced flavors with the thick-cut bacon and the pickled red onion, contrasting textures between the carrot crunch and the plushy eggs -- all encompassed inside fluffy buns o' brioche.
Oh, those tater tots? Yeah, they were pretty great as well.
My overall experience at ASAP Phorage was great. It's a casual spot with friendly service and carefully crafted dishes. Chef Ulises Pineda-Alfaro's attention to flavor is evident.
I will definitely be going back to try one (or more) of their 8 banh mi sandwiches. Stay tuned for an update!