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PHX - Pho in East Valley?

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Hounds,

Two years in the East Valley, and I have yet to find a place for good pho - not that I've looked much in the hot summer months! I'm now expecting our second munchkin and craving comfort food, regardless of the outside temps. Anyone have any recommendations?

Thanks!

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  1. Which places have you tried and rejected?

    Frankly, I've never had *bad* pho in the east valley. Maybe I wouldn't know it if it hit me. I always figure if it's bad, it's my fault for adding too much/little in the way of condiments.

    Yen Mi next to LeeLee's is my favorite. But Cyclo makes a good bowl, and so does the place at Rural & University, by Delhi Palace.

    1 Reply
    1. re: themis

      the place ny Delhi Palace is Nhat. I've heard the one by Mesa Community College is better. And the weird mural on the wall at Nhat made my head spin.

    2. Honestly, it was awhile ago, and I can't even remember. I think it was somewhere in Chandler. Obviously, the pho was worth forgetting.

      1. I've had consistently good pho at a place on the north side of Southern just east of Dobson. I can't remember the name, but it was in the same shopping center as a Cheba Hut. Since I can't find a listing at Google maps, it's possible the place I'm thinking of is no longer in business.

        Here's a place nearby that I have not tried, but the Web site looks promising:

        http://www.phomesa.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: silverbear

          I believe that place next to the Cheba Hut is called AZN and also serves bubble tea. Most people go in to buy bubble tea, but they do make a good bowl of pho.

          Just down the street at Southern & Extension there is a Vietnamese place that also has consistently good pho, and they have more of the odder meats like tripe and tendon. Ironically, I can't remember the name of this one even though I used to eat there every week since I worked nearby.

          I tried Cyclo's pho and found it to be sadly bland, though I like a lot of their other dishes.

        2. Dragonfly Vietnamese Kitchen - (480) 464-1455 - 1116 S Dobson Rd Ste 113, Mesa, AZ

          This is in a strip mall on the west side of the street. My friend that is far more experienced than I am in this style of cuisine says it is far and away the best in town.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Molto E

            There's a favorable review of Dragonfly in today's Republic:

            http://www.azcentral.com/ent/dining/a...

          2. I think Saigon Pho has the best pho in the east valley.

            1. My choices are all already listed. Yen Mi is good, Saigon Pho is good and has better service and ambience. Cyclo is good and has a more gourmet selection and Justina is worth the price of admission.

              Billy Bob

              3 Replies
              1. re: Billy Bob

                Justina is the tall-ish woman who functions as the hostess, correct?

                1. re: jhenner

                  You are correct. She is the owner of the place. I remember her fondly just because she's one of the only people I've seen waiting tables wearing stiletto heels on a tile floor.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Ah, she is a piece of work. I remember her coming to my table, opening my straw, putting it in my drink, and stirring it for me.

                    I like to think that it's because I was very good looking and she wanted to do something nice, but the likely answer was she didn't want my lips on her nice cups.

              2. This is the UNchowhoundish question of the week..

                What is pho?

                I've only had Vietnamese once, and it was a very timid first outing. Educate me, friends.

                a sheepish :)

                4 Replies
                1. re: mamamia

                  Pho is lovely! It's good for all that ails you.

                  It seems to be a clear broth, for the most part, with your choice of meat, and probably some noodles. There may be a large pile of bean sprouts and a large pile of fresh herbs served with it -- mint and basil and cilantro. There should also be hot sauce and fish sauce available. The typical mode is to add in the ingredients you prefer, and in the proportions you desire, and top with the condiments you wish. So your bowl is tailored to you, and if it's bad, it's because you screwed up somewhere -- at least that's how I've always seen it! The meat may be eye of round, sliced very thinly, and sometimes you may even 'shabu' it yourself in the piping hot soup -- or it may be something more exotic, like tendon (numsters! so much better than it sounds).

                  Pho is 1) one of the best hangover cures I've run across. Or at least, it doesn't leave you with as much self-hatred as Jack in the Box tacos. And 2) way more effective than chicken soup for curing a common cold. Or at least it's one of those wonderful things you can actually taste when you have a head cold and have completely lost your appetite, at least if you're me, because my normal bowl of pho has so much sriracha it makes my nose run even when I'm healthy.

                  1. re: themis

                    Okay...yes...you have my attention.

                    So if the bowl is tailored to you, are the main ingredients prepared for you, but then you add the extras from a condiment tray at your table?

                    1. re: mamamia

                      Exactly. The bowl comes out with broth, noodles, and meat in it, then you add bean sprouts, herbs, peppers, a squeeze of lime, et cetera, to taste.

                      1. re: mamamia

                        Usually, it comes in either a beef or a chicken variety. Many Vietnamese restaurants menus show a long list of beef variations, and for the most part I have a hard time telling them apart . . . except that I do like the ones containing tendon, which is kind of glutinous and chewy. Even though the choices may include either "rare" or "well done" beef (always sliced paper thin) it ends up being pretty well done, since it cooks in the broth. The beef version uses a different broth than the chicken version, which uses a chicken-based broth. If you try pho at different restaurants you will taste a difference in the broths, and of course the best broth makes the best soup. Pho is my sickroom food of choice, particularly the chicken variety.

                        I haven't tried any of the East Valley places, but in midtown, Pho Bang on Camelback just east of 19th Avenue is always good. I've also tried Da Vang on 19th Ave. and have found the pho to be variable, sometimes really good and other times less than full-flavored. Also there is one on 19th Ave. just south of Northern, don't recall the name, and we've just discovered a new one on T-Bird just east of 51st Ave. -- haven't tried the pho yet, but just had a very nice bowl of bun with pork (bun is a cold noodle dish tossed with a light sauce, shredded vegetables, and your choice of meat). Vietnamese food in general is usually lighter and more healthful than the type of Chinese food that is most commonly found in our area.

                        Sarah C

                  2. Sarah C.. which side of the road is the 19th ave and Northern location at? This is just right up the road from my work!!

                    Da Vang is probably one of the best Pho's Ive had in the west side. Noodles Ranch at Scottsdale and Thomas is also pretty darn good!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: xanderbear

                      It's in the little strip mall on 19th Ave. just south of the SW corner of the intersection. There's also a Russian grocery in the strip mall. I've been there twice at lunchtime and it's been very quiet, but the owners are friendly and attentive.

                      Sarah C

                      1. re: kittyfood

                        Hi there Sarah.. thank you for the recommendation! I went there today for lunch, I had the Beef Pho.. I think the chef/owner might be from a different part of Vietnam as they Pho was SO different then any Ive had before.. no chile's, no saw leaf herb and no basil!! LOL! Plus the soup wasn't sweet at all in its aroma, very peppery. She used a great deal of black pepper.. do you know what region she's from? Have you been to Da Vang? Completely different Pho. I will be curious to hear the difference if you go to Da Vang.

                        Thanks!!!!!
                        XB

                        1. re: xanderbear

                          I have been to Da Vang but not back-to-back -- I'll have to do a new survey to compare them. At the one on 19th and Northern (still don't know the name) I have only had the chicken variety. As for the herbs that are used, that might be regional or it might be a seasonal availability thing. When we lived in New Orleans the Vietnamese restaurants that we frequented regularly would usually have the mint/basil, and then sometimes we would find only the prickly long leafy herb. Other places might use cilantro in lieu of either.

                          Sarah C

                          1. re: kittyfood

                            Sarah,
                            The place on 19th & Northern is called TuDo
                            In my experiences there, it was one of the nastiest places I have been too. There were flies swarming around my Pho and cockroaches all over!!! I literally vomited in the bathroom in which that smelled disgusting and there were feces all over the wall.
                            NOW.. if you want a GOOD bowl of Pho go to Thao's Sandwiches on the NEC of 27th Ave & Bethany Home Road. OUTSTANDING and tastes fresh and importantly, the restaurant is CLEAN!!!
                            I have lived in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) and I have had GOOD pho and I am STUCK on Thao's

                    2. Yeah, doesn't that sound like fun?! I love doing comparisons or regional cook.. like Olive Garden vs Fazoli's! LOL! Just kidding!

                      The place I think is called Tu Do Restaurant, next to the Russian grocery store. After doing some research there might be another place over there called Pho May Restaurant.. though I think its gone now, called Wahsun currently, ever been? 19th and Northern on the NW corner by Sprouts. Amazing dry fried beef with rice noodle. The owner Rose is a real sweetheart!

                      You sound like fun, my co-workers are afraid of taking culinary risks in the name of flavor! LOL! There's a Vietnamese place at 27th Ave and Glendale called Thao's Sandwich Shop, they have good Bunh Mi as well as Pho.. the owner seems very nice.. also have bubble tea and choobee! Maybe I'll start a new thread on this?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: xanderbear

                        I got takeout once from the Chinese place by Sprouts, and we didn't think it was very good (beef chow fun, pretty greasy and not very tasty, and I don't remember what else). Has it morphed into a Vietnamese restaurant now? There are a number of little Vietnamese cafes all over the area if you look for them, like little jewels . . . yes, I'll try almost anything.

                        Sarah C

                      2. No Wahsun is still making her amazing chow fun noodles.. must have had a bad day or something? I eat there a few times a month and find it consistant, its the only place I can get some of my coworkers to go to.. though I musy agree I have found on occasion a bit oily.. though never greasy. It used to be a Vietnamese place some time ago, new independents come and go so frequently.

                        I cant imagine Tu Do staying for much longer.. the place was comeletly dead when I went in there yesterday.. plus with such good places like Pho Bang and Da Vang so close by.. well you know how it is.