Saw a sign yesterday on Folly Road that pulled me in immediately “Pho — Sushi — Chinese Food.” Thinking I could save some time by not cooking dinner before a 7 p.m. basketball game, we stopped in the shopping center where Mondo’s and DB’s are located and ordered some chicken noodle soup (pho), rice paper rolls, lo mein, and chicken fried rice from the newly renamed B&L Asian Cuisine (at 5:10 p.m.). This little storefront has been several different Asian restaurants. The last time I think it was called Vinh Sing or something like that. I’ve tried it each time hoping against hope that we could finally get decent Chinese on Jimmy Isle.

A sign on the door trumpeted their desire to serve fresh, healthful fare, so I was feeling pretty good. Inside the empty dining room, which featured a defunct buffet along one wall, a young girl took my order, and I set about waiting … and waiting … and waiting. Forty-five minutes later, I finally received my order — with an apology from the owner, who blamed the lady in front of me for ordering five things. How dare she, right?

I bitched about waiting 45 minutes and told her it better be good — which it was and it wasn’t. The rice paper rolls were so loosely rolled that they fell apart on contact. The fried rice and lo mein were garlicky and fresh — but nowhere near the quality of Red Orchids. The pho was tasty but the broth didn’t seem as rich as it should. I’ve only had pho at Pho Bac, so I have no clue what the real stuff is like, but this version seemed ho-hum compared to Tom Pham’s.

Had I gotten my order in the ten minutes it should have taken, I probably would have a better report, but I was so irritated at the inordinate wait and the lame apology that I couldn’t take an unbiased bite. Not only did I not save time, but my kid’s night was totally screwed — homework was being done after the basketball game; he refused to eat the Chinese food, convinced that it sucked, and he ended up going to bed hungry. Damn you, lady.