Late-Night Pho Spot Dalat Has Spawned a Pizzeria, and It's Just as Weird

Like this, but with pepperoni.
Like this, but with pepperoni.
Catherine Downes

Catherine Downes
Like this, but with pepperoni.
If Khanh Nguyen is known for anything at his pho restaurant DaLat, it's his rampant and sometimes unconventional creativity. This is the person who decided to serve ceviche on Doritos, turn egg rolls inside out and serve mimosas made with Tang. Bowls of soup can be doctored with something called Transcendental sauce at DaLat. The sauce is so hot it is administered a milliliter at time, and when the eyedropper comes out every set of chopsticks the restaurant remain still.

But recently, employees at this popular late-night spot have shifted their focus away from orange-colored foods and scalded palates to the action next door, where Nguyen is cooking up his next round of crazy dishes. Pastazio's, the former occupant, closed recently, after the owner was charged with some very unsavory pizza making, and Nguyen jumped on the space. He's since been testing pizza recipes in preparation of opening his own pizzeria he's named ZaLat.

If you want a basic pie -- something like a cheese and pepperoni -- Nguyen will be happy to oblige, but his new pizzeria will more likely be known for slices topped with Spaghetti-O's, elotes and other ingredients pizza purists think have no business on a pizza. There's a noodle-topped, pho pizza and that Transcendental sauce from next door will setting the occasional pizza ablaze.

There's still some work to do before Zalat is ready to open. The Pastazio's folks didn't do much to fix up the place when they were there and Nguyen has left just about everything as he found it. Picture a ton of gray tile, a walk-up counter with a lighted case to keep few pies warm and basic kitchen equipment -- all of this illuminated in sterile-blue florescent lighting. Nguyen says he'll work on aesthetics eventually but for now he wants those pies perfected.

He's hoping for a soft opening in the coming days, with a more formal roll-out a few weeks later. Delivery options are still being tossed around, but the store will primarily operate as a carryout; the address doesn't have enough parking for permitting as a sit down restaurant. For an extra bonus, ZaLat should be open into the early morning hours like its sister restaurant next door. Together, the two restaurants could form a vortex of sustenance for light-night drunks. If you ever wake up with a foggy head and an unexplained burn on your tongue, chances are there's a crumpled ZaLat slip in your pocket.

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