614 S Carrollton Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Ah, the Jazmine Cafe. As a Vietnamese food junkie - hardcore - and a Californian, I get a little squirrely when I go more then a couple days without an infusion of fish sauce. The Jazmine Cafe, mediocre as it may be, is located right at Riverbend, inexpensive, and does have fish sauce (if little else.) Thus I'll keep on going despite my vague feeling of disappointment each visit. Yeah, I should probably learn to make my own pho.
Vegetarian spring rolls. These had fried tofu, avocado, rice noodles, cucumber, basil and cilantro, and carrots. Simply okay, and a bit padded out with noodles for my liking. Okay, I know the Traditional Real Way to do spring rolls involves noodles but it's not the way I like them and my preferences obviously override a few gazillion years of Vietnamese history. Duh.
These banh mi were called vegetarian "po boys" on the menu in an attempt to sell a NOLA audience on these luscious Vietnamese sandwiches. Banh mi and po-boys DO have a thing or two in common - I can see it. These veg renditions had carrots, Vietnamese slaw, mayo, fried tofu, and herbs, along with a whole lotta butter. Personally I rather like large quantities of butter but my friend Amanda did not agree.
Tamarind fish soup with tilapia and okra. This was just okay, if plentiful - big old chunks of tilapia were in there, that's for sure. Flavor was good and a bit sweet and sourish, with chunks of fresh pineapple and bean sprouts. I was rather irritated by the fact that the okra were just chucked in there raw - raw is not a good way to eat okra, although the heat of the soup did soften em' up a bit. Hrmph.
My friends ordered the vegetarian sweet heat noodles - sorta like pad thai. Big old portions and a decent spicy-sweet flavor, with tofu, broccoli, and whatnot. The non-veg version has chicken and shrimp and is rather tasty.
The Jazmine Cafe is a decent option for inexpensive and Vietnamese-esque eats near the Tulane campus, but it definitely is not the real-deal or even particularly good. (Except for the grilled tuna salad. Dig that.) However it'll suffice til' I can get up against some REAL pho. *sniffle*