When the city is in the thrall of a seemingly endless cold spell and stores are running low on space heaters, Do Ha, owner of Doson Noodle House (135 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-7286) says his customers flock to the restaurant to warm up the old-fashioned way: with steaming bowls of beef or chicken pho.
"People love pho in cold weather," he says.
Pho, a confluence of French and Vietnamese cooking, combines beef broth, greens, cilantro, green onions and rice noodles. Ha eschews dried rice noodles in favor of fresh ones he has shipped in from Houston; likewise, all his vegetables come from the Vietnamese Farmers Market in eastern New Orleans. This emphasis on fresh produce, healthy preparation methods and authentic flavors has made Doson Noodle House popular since it opened in 1997.
"A lot of people come for the lemon grass tofu," Ha says."We have real turmeric, lemon grass and bean sprouts, and the way we cook is a little lighter — we use much less oil."
From 1980 to 1990, Ha cut his teeth working at Five Happiness, where he started as a busboy and went on to work nearly every position, including manager. "They were really like a family," he says.
Now, Ha works alongside his own family: his wife Thuy Do helps in the kitchen, and his 11-year-old daughter Alison likes to hang out at the restaurant with her friends.
"I had a birthday party here," Allison says. "Everyone liked the food."