This week, the Source Weekly's Takeout Guide, offered in digital form all throughout the pandemic, went into print. Inside that print guide are these one-dish reviews of Dishes Worth Dialing your friendly local restaurant to order. Check 'em out, and then peruse all the offerings in our newly updated Takeout Guide of Central Oregon restaurants!
Tái Nam Gâu at Pho Viet & Cafe
Dish: Tái Nam Gâu—aka P3., pho with eye of round steak, well-done flank and rich brisket
Location: Pho Viet & Cafe
What's good about it: Pho is a quintessential wintertime staple; filled with aromatic herbs and that signature anise flavor, combined with fresh bean sprouts, rice noodles and varying types of meat. I'm a fan of the one that comes with brisket, but the restaurant's list is long and lets you choose from any number of adventurous options.
Pho Viet's soups, in the era of takeout-only, come ready for a sog-proof meal. Noodles come separate from the broth; fresh veggies and herbs are separated out too. Add them all to a big bowl at home and you're good to go. Had I been hungrier on the day I got the pho, I might have added a bahn mi—the delightful Vietnamese sandwich I find hard to resist in almost any iteration. Also highlights for the Source crew are the Fried Rice and the Pad Thai—made in a Vietnamese style that sets it apart from others you might have tried.
Deets on getting takeout: Owner Tan Vo's friendly face and the welcoming vibe he's fostered in his restaurant make every trip to Pho Viet a delight—whether you're staying or just taking away.
Holy Eggplant at Wild Rose—Northern Thai Eats
Dish: Holy Eggplant
Location: Wild Rose—Northern Thai Eats
What's good about it: Holy Eggplant has depth. It features sliced Japanese eggplant perfectly stir fried with ground pork, Thai basil and peppers in a chili paste. The sauce's spicy and subtle sweetness compliment the ground pork's savory flavor without overpowering it—resulting in a rich dish with subtly different flavors in each bite. For a nice heat that still leaves room for the other flavors to shine, try a spice level three. But feel free to personalize it. It comes in spice level one to five.
Deets on getting takeout: Wild Rose Thai is popular enough that their phone might be busy—especially during peak dinner hours—but just call back if needed. Once your order is placed, pickup is a breeze. Show up at the pickup time, park in one of the marked spaces in front of the restaurant and then they'll come to you. They'll ask your name and return with your food. No need to even exit the car.
Red Lentil Fritters at Root Down Kitchen
Dish: Red Lentil Fritters
Location: Root Down Kitchen
What's good about it: The Red Lentil Fritters at Root Down Kitchen, the all-vegan eatery in the old Bend neighborhood, are the stuff of a veggie-loving and carb-conscious eater's dreams. The core of this meal is the fritters—soft with a bit of fried crunch—but what's underneath and above them make them most noteworthy. A garlicky cilantro pesto, spicy aioli and an avocado crema all combine for explosions of flavor in your mouth, and have you wondering how they made something so creamy vegan. The bed of slaw under the fritters will have you glad there's something so crunchy, satisfying and nutritious to balance out all the flavor.
Deets on getting takeout: Call in and pay over the phone to speed up the process, or order via Bend Takeout or Ubereats. When I pulled up to this homey, intimate spot, they came out to bring me my food as I was starting to get out of the car.
Rainbow Roll at 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar
Dish: Rainbow Roll
Location: 5 Fusion and Sushi Bar
What's good about it: Simply put, 5 Fusion's sushi fish is divine. Buttery and not overly fishy, it's a sad state of affairs to know that I can't go in, sit down, order a plate... and then order another one when the mood strikes me. Lesson: Order what you want—and then order a little bit more just to be on the safe side. The Rainbow Roll, with its assorted fish and rice on the outside, an obligatory order of Edamame and chef's special nigiri were part of my order—but I was left wanting even more. Each piece of fish melted in my mouth and had me contemplating driving back for seconds.
Deets on getting takeout: 5 Fusion has a number of cocktails to go listed on its menu—but in the event that you skip over that part, picking up your food from the restaurant's door instead of using its curbside pickup option may tempt you once again. An array of sake, beer and other drinks tempt you as you grab your order from the doorway. Just try to resist.