Blossom Vietnamese

The menu features a variety of Vietnamese dishes including pho noodle soup and rice dishes.

Blossom Vietnamese brings classic pho to Abbot Kinney

"We’ve been open for five weeks today,” said Duc Pham of his new Blossom Vietnamese restaurant on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. 

Pham just received the two heaters he ordered for the outside patio, which have arrived in time to warm outdoor diners for the coming windy weekend. 

“We’re moving with the space,” he said. “It’s telling us what it needs daily.” 

Venice is Pham’s fifth Blossom location – the original Downtown Los Angeles noodle shop launched on Main Street 17 years ago. Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Boulevard eatery opened five years ago. His Silver Lake spot, which opened in 2006, closed three years ago because of the building’s rapidly rising rent, and the Atwater Village restaurant popped up just over a year ago.

“I’ve been doing this for 17 years,” Pham said. “One thing that remains true is that each location is in a different area, so we can’t expect the same thing. There are always new things, different nuances and intricacies for the space. Within those deep pockets there are big explosions to be had that you may have missed and didn’t account for, so it takes time.”

Pham exuded pure joy as he talked about his newest venture. He had nothing but praise for Michael Sant, owner and architect of the Abbot Kinney building.

“I love this space, I’ve never walked into such a perfect space,” Pham said. “Looking out it’s all glass, so much natural light.”

Pham was born in Ca Mau, on the coast of southwest Saigon, a city that is renowned for seafood. As long as he can remember, he has loved hosting and seeking out new places to eat. If you’re his friend, you could expect him to sit you down as he begins to order dishes.

“I knew exactly that when you took a bite or sip, your eyes would light up and go wide, and that gave me such great pleasure,” Pham said. “There’s newness in that.”

Pham studied in Oxford, England, which he said changed his view of the world. After school, he sat out a few years pondering what to do. He asked himself, “What do you know?” Then one summer in July it came to him: he would start a restaurant. 

Five Blossoms later and Pham has succeeded by sticking to the (Vietnamese) basics: pho.

“I’m in so deep with that,” he said. “People say pho is something very simple, but actually, in its reality it’s something that has nuances and intricacies that need to be tended to in a very soft, gentle manner. The broth, in its clarity and movement,

it’s such a romance in making the broth. It’s a jewel of a movement for me to get it right — and better all the time. I’m still sticking to soup. We don’t jump on fusion or what’s trending now. I think I’m quite simple in that, the basics are perfected and refined upon daily.”

Pham also reads famous chefs’ cookbooks and magazines, and travels the world soaking up inspiration. 

“What does Thomas Keller say about cooking stock?” Pham said. “Stock is the basis for all great sauces. I read about what they have discovered and learned. What’s their approach to making stock? I would try it and adapt.”

Pham keeps his formula simple. All the noodle dishes are the same at each location, and the downtown and Abbot Kinney locations serve rice dishes for dinner only. Luckily, LA food lovers know the name Blossom. Alongside beachside newcomers, Blossom’s existing downtown and Santa Monica customers have already visited the Venice location. 

“We’ve been getting a lot of local love,” Pham said. “We’re feeling pretty at home. I just love the vibrancy and energy of Abbot Kinney. We’ve never been on a street with so much foot traffic. This is sort of an extension of what we’re doing in Santa Monica.”

Pham also plans to introduce a few culinary surprises soon.

“I eat all over – LA, San Francisco, Paris,” he said. “I want to add dishes that are surprises, that don’t have anything to do with Vietnamese. Like I love baked Branzino. I want to be able to do that because LA is a cultural melting pot.”

On a world-famous street that’s home to popular eateries such as Gjelina, The Butcher’s Daughter and Felix Trattoria, it would be natural to assume one might feel the pressure to keep up with the Kinneys. Not Pham.

“I know the foodscape of LA very well,” he said. “What we do is different. After 17 years, it feels like it’s new. I’m not tired of it. I go eat in various places in LA. I stay abreast of what’s going on. That’s what keeps me going, it’s my path. I jump out of bed. I still run to my work. Until that ends I’m still very excited to be here and blessed that I could do this.”  

 

Blossom Vietnamese

1121 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice

310-310-2332

blossomvenice.com