- anhdeluxe May 11, 2007 11:18 AM
A friend and I checked out this Vietnamese place off of Little River Turnpike and 395 the other day. Overall assesment: it's okay. mediocre. Not spectacular. The place looks like it's been around for a while, even though the sign proclaimed a Grand Opening. The menu is pretty extensive, with a lot of other Vietnamese dishes and soups besides pho. It was 6.95 for a small (regular) sized bowl, just a little bit above standard, and for a really lackluster soup.
She had the Vegetarian Pho, which basically is the same beef broth and rice stick noodles but with bok choy and tofu instead of meat. She very much enjoyed the fact that this version included the tofu and other accoutrements, as most places just give you a plain bowl of broth and noodles if you ask for a vegetarian version of pho.
I had the pho with rare and cooked slices of flank and brisket. The accompanying sprouts, herbs, chilies and limes were fresh and clean. They don't give you the heaping mountain of these accessories as other places, but it was enough for us. My pho broth was a little flat. I couldn't taste any star anise or charred onion. The noodles were perfect however, and I had plenty of them.
I also ordered the summer rolls -- two rolls with three freshly cooked shrimp halves each. It was good, tightly wrapped, and bursting with sprouts, pork, mint, lettuce and cilantro. The peanut dipping sauce was kind of boring, but you can add siracha chili sauce to taste.
I also had the Vietnamese iced coffee -- they used Cafe Du Monde and my friend had the mango bubble tea. I also think they use powder. It came out more like sorbet (too much ice?) with tapioca bubbles on the bottom, but she enjoyed it.
I think I will go back for their other soups (they offer spicy Hue beef soup - Bun Bo Hue!- and that can be a little hard to find) and perhaps their other dishes, but not the pho. and not their bubble tea.
If you are a bun fan, try their Bun with roasted pork/spring roll or shrimp. Their papaya salad is also surprisingly refreshing...don't expect the Thai version of papaya salad...this is milder, gentler and tasty in a different way.
If you're in the 'hood, have you tried Pho Viet Flare in Van Dorn Station? I like their pho a little better than Saigon Citi's because the broth is more flavorful, in my humble opinion.
There's also a Pho place across the street in the Grand Mart strip mall that I have to try. Have you tried it? I feel like I am on a pho crusade. :) I will go back to Citi and try the bun. The next Pho place I will go to is Pho Saigon 8. They left a postcard on my door with a coupon for a free bowl :)
It used to be called Namy Bistro - not sure if it's still called that. That used to be my Pho place of choice, but they were bought over by Korean owners about 1.5 years ago and for unknown reasons, they still offer pho, but it's not as good as it used to be. I stopped going there and switch to Saigon Citi for bun and Pho Viet Flare for pho.