Is There Such a Thing in L.A. as a $5,000 Bowl of Pho? [UPDATED]
A recent reader e-mail prompted us to look into the possibility of there being a really (really, really) expensive bowl of pho out there. Our reader writes: "I heard that Tiato restaurant in San ta Monica will have a Pho Noodle with KOBE beef for $5,000.00 a bowl. Is this true?" The answer: Yes.
First: What goes into a $5k bowl of pho? According to Pursuitist, this version of the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup is made with "rare, luxury ingredients such as white alba truffles, A5 Wagyu beef, foie gras based broth, special hand-raised bean sprouts and the meat from rare blue lobsters."
The bowl of noodle soup in question was put up for auction recently during a charity auction at a benefit dinner held for the USCF Benioff Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospitals of Los Angeles/Orange County.
The "World's Most Expensive Bowl of Pho" also has a life after the auction--Tiato's owner will be putting the dish on the menu at sibling eatery Crustacean in Beverly Hills, with a price of $5000. Profits from sales of the pho will be donated to the hospital organizations.
UPDATE: We finally heard back from the House of An, who operate Tiato and Crustacean. We contacted them yesterday in response to our reader's query. While the pho was indeed auctioned off last week (it netted $5,800) it will not be on the menu at Crustacean. From their email to us:
We have received several inquiries about this $5k Bowl of Pho being a permanent fixture at both Crustacean and Tiato. After speaking with the CEO of House of An, the owner of Tiato and the general managers of Crustacean, unfortunately that is not true. I would just like to squash the rumors swirling around in the media, including LAist and LA Weekly. As flattered as we are that customers would like to pay for and enjoy such a delicacy in our restaurants, that is simply not the case.