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Nov 21, 2000 06:52 AM


  • j

I have yet to discover an undisappointing pho in Manhattan...Suggestions?

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  1. Can't really direct you specifically to Vietnamese restaurants in NYC, but having lived on pho for three weeks in Vietnam, I can tell you that there is not much more to the 'real thing' than broth & greens - sometimes a bit of meat or noodles. You can spice it up yourself with nuoc mam (fish sauce) but that's about it...What has been lacking in what you've had?

    6 Replies
    1. re: magnolia
      Jason "Sriracha" Perlow

      Yeah gotta admit that pho is some pretty humble stuff. The broth has gotta taste very beefy and anisy to be good though.

      I like to put a lot of sriracha in mine, but I would much rather have Bun Bo Hue (spicy noodle soup from central vietnam) than hanoi style pho if I can get it.

      1. re: magnolia

        Which places have you tried? I think it's fair to say that the discussions here (and friends of mine) have tended to suggest, for the most part, that Pho Pasteur is the best place in Manhattan, but I haven't been there for years. I live further east and tend to eat at a place on the south side of Grand St. between Christie and Bowery, which I like.

        1. re: Michael

          Back when it was called Pho Pasteur, it was great. In fact, it was great for a year or so after they renamed it "New Pasteur". It is now terrible (I think you've missed a few warning threads).

          I'll add it to our downhill alert page.

          Meanwhile, when it comes to Pho, there's a pretty good consensus for Pho Cong Ly (24 Hester Street near Chrystie 343-1111)

          1. re: Jim Leff

            I noted your previous favorable comments about Pho Cong Ly, both here and in your book, but the one time I went there, the staff smoked, and the pho, while good, was certainly not better than at the restaurant one block north on Grand between Christie and Bowery, which is my standby for pho.

            You're right about missing warning threads about New Pasteur.

            1. re: Michael

              I also like the food at Pho Cong Ly, and agree that it is superior to most other places. Unfortunately, I also agree with you that the smoking -- by the staff as well as the patrons -- usually ruins the experience entirely for me, and makes it impossible to enjoy my meal. Pity really.

              For SE Asian soups (though not for Pho in particular), I suggest the place on the north side of Bayard Street between Mott and Mulberry (I forget the name). Many things are no less good than what can be procured on the street in Asian cities.

              By the way, although I think that all of you are correct that Pho Pasteur is not all that it once was, I don't think that it is at all "bad," and I think that is is very possible to eat well there.

              1. re: Rob
                Chris Armstrong

                I think there's gonna be a Pho war on these boards.

                Above the 38th parallel, we have the devotees of Pho Tuong Lai, on Grand St. between Bowery and Chrystie.

                Below, we have the Pho Cong Ly fans.

                If I can weigh in here, I've eaten at both many times and I like Tuong Lai better. Cong Ly is very good though. Tuong Lai's soup is often slightly more flavorful, the portions are bigger, and the rare beef is, well, rarer.