With five locations in Tualatin, Sherwood, West Linn, and Beaverton, La Sen Vietnamese Grill is best known for its warming bowls of pho — plus that time someone drove a car into its Tualatin dining room — and owner Tuan Lam confirms with Eater the restaurant will open a new style of Vietnamese bar and grill called Hem 23 in Portland’s Northwest neighborhood, at 1514 NW 23rd St.
Hem 23 will seat 54 in the 2100-square-foot venue formerly home to Sushiville, and the restaurant will offer “many authentic Vietnamese dishes along a with full bar,” says Lam. The early menu — which only includes three plates — does not feature pho at present; instead, there are grilled prawn skewers with ginger-plum sauce, a short rib rice bowl, and chili lemongrass frog legs with fried rice.
Hem 23 hopes to fire up the grills the last week in August, and there could be some drama around the opening, as the bar and grill is setting up shop on the same block as another Vietnamese restaurant in the intimate neighborhood, Lela’s Bistro — a local standout for its wallet-friendly Vietnamese plates. As will Hem 23, Lela’s serves lunch and dinner, and Lela’s menu includes many popular Vietnamese items, like pho, banh mi, steamed buns, salad rolls, and rice dishes.