We are faithful devotees of Vietnamese food, and we recently became big fans of Phans 55. Tucked away in an apartment complex right off Jamboree Road in Irvine, this is the hippest and most attractive Vietnamese restaurant outside of Vietnam that we've ever come across, and the food is top notch as well.
The long, narrow, high-ceilinged room has been transformed into a sleek contemporary bistro with extravagant light fixtures made from strings of glass balls, kite-like fabric floating from the ceiling and a shiny stainless steel exposed kitchen. Opening up the space is an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling glass. The décor is chocolate and black, wood and leather.
At the suggestion of the charming and effusive Susie (owner-chef) from the category of "rolls," we ordered the seared ahi roll. We generally find Vietnamese spring rolls on the dull side. However, these were anything but. Even without sauce, the rolls were fabulous, with their clean, bright flavors.