Restaurants seem to come and go, so it’s reassuring when something has staying power. Pho Lemongrass, a popular Vietnamese spot in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, has been a neighborhood favorite for a dozen years. The two softly lit dining rooms are filled with a mix of young professionals, families, and couples, as fragrant, colorful plates go from kitchen to table. The key to success, says manager Daisy To, is consistency. She and husband Henry Chau, who oversees the wine list and the bar, have been there since the place opened in 2000. Binh Quach is head chef, and Maggie Ly, also there from the beginning, is executive chef.
Banh xeo crepe ($10.50) is a pillowy-crisp half-moon, generously stuffed with stir-fried pork, shrimp, and bean sprouts. A golden hue from turmeric and ginger powder makes it appear omelet-like, but there is not a drop of egg in the batter of rice flour, mung beans, and coconut milk. A splash of beer is the secret to its puffy texture. We wrap portions of crepe in leaf lettuce, dunk them in tangy-sweet fish sauce, and are still savoring them when the next item arrives.