A new Asian spot has arrived on University Avenue with the debut of Vietnamese eatery Shank & Bone. Created by Han Tran and Jay Choy, who run the 14-year-old Ebisu Sushi in Hillcrest, with business partners Lam Nguyen and Phuc Vo (Crab Town), the restaurant is a well-designed, contemporary showcase for a menu that features traditional Vietnamese cuisine and ingredients.
Under the gaze of a wall-sized print of Shepard Fairey’s Revolution Girl, displayed with the artist’s permission, the restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch and happy hour to follow. Other design elements include vintage motorbikes and an antique map of the former Saigon; eating and drinking trips to the region, now called Ho Chi Minh City, inspired Tran to bring the flavors of her native Vietnam to North Park.
Their signature pho, made with a long-simmered bone soup that’s made fresh daily, comes with beef shank, oxtail, eye of round steak, flank, brisket and bone marrow. There’s also a surf and turf variation, with lobster and filet mignon, as well as an all-seafood bowl, and alternative options that feature a rich chicken or completely vegan broth.
Other classic dishes include Vietnamese baguette sandwiches, vermicelli rice noodle salad bowls, rice plates with grilled meats and Vietnamese beef stew, called bo kho. More modern innovations range from beef carpaccio with Vietnamese vinaigrette, crushed peanuts, fresh mint and watercress to banh mi-inspired crostini topped with bone marrow and taco-sized versions of banh xeo, Vietnamese crepes stuffed with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, jicama, fresh mint.
Drinks include hyper-local craft beer, mostly brewed in the North Park area, and locally-made sake on tap plus craft wine coolers, and soju-based cocktails.