PHX: New Vietnames Restaurant 'Pho-licious' (Westside Review, 75ave & Cactus)
After our 3rd visit to the new 'Pho-Licious' Viet restaurant located across the street on the corner due North of the newly opened Lee-Lee Asian market on 75th Avenue and Cactus, we felt it was our Chow-ly duty (?!) to report our findings.
Are we Vietnamese newbies? NO.
Can we recommend better? YES, thankfully!
Can we recommend worse? NO.... (Well, tied for last place actually with Pho Avina on 51st & Thunderbird)
Years ago, we had wandered in near closing time to our then-usual Viet restaurant. My usual " #13 Soup" order was met with hesitation, the server wondering if they could still make it. After a hasty retreat to the back, the server appeared with a smile and a 'we can still do it' promise. Unfortunately, the broth was lukewarm and weak - as if they had enough for a good cup, but had to add too much water to it to stretch it out and try to make the dish.
To their credit, they never did this again. Truth be known however, they were actually *unable* to do it as the staff (and name of the restaurant) suddenly changed the following week. Hmmm...
In that vein - if you like your food lukewarm, weak, under-portioned and not traditionally served, then Pho-licious is for you~!
Akin to the newly relocated 'Pho Avina' from 43rd Ave and Bell Road, they seem to follow a similar theme of new West-side Viet restaurants: Remove at least 75% of the protein from every dish (try any soup, any bun); Dilute any soup stock by at least 50% - and be sure to serve the dishes lukewarm without much if any of the traditional accompaniments you might reasonably expect.
We applauded the family-like atmosphere and effort of the staff, however the young female server really belongs as a hostess, not a server. Likewise also for the male manager who obviously cares and tries a great deal, but seems unable to make it happen unfortunately.
Although the new Lee-Lee market is indeed open, the promised restaurant inside the store is not however. Can't wait for it to open!
PS: One dish that did stand out was a curried-pork dish with coconut milk. It tasted remarkably similar to the spice used on some salt and pepper shrimp/squid dishes.
Can recommend a location further South, but are fearful we won't be able to get into our favorite dive if we do. Will divulge if anyone is interested :-)
I agree about the broth -- on our one try, after it had been open about a week, the broth was under-flavored, and the noodles were a little overcooked. Personally, I don't mind if they don't put a lot of meat in because what I really like is good broth, noodles and herbs. I ordered the one with rare beef, tendon (which I love) and tripe, and there was plenty of that. Service was not a strong point when we were there; they were all dining with friends and family on the other side of the room and didn't refill our water or check with us after they brought our meals.