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Aug 22, 2008 09:38 AM

Birmingham - new Vietnamese?

I heard a rumor that a new Vietnamese restaurant is opening in Hoover. Does anyone know anything about this or can confirm it is true?

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  1. Had lunch there today as a matter of fact. It's called Pho Hoang, and it's in the Publix plaza on Alabama 150 that is up on the hill across from the entrance to Trace Crossings in Hoover.
    I had pho and what they described as a spring roll that actually is what I've always thought of as a summer roll (fresh, not fried, rice paper wrapped around noodles, shrimp, pork, herbs and sprouts).
    The pho I had contained eye round, well-done flank steak, tendon, tripe and what they called meatball (it resembled sausage). The beef was very good, especially the flank steak and tendon. The broth was tasty, with a nice anise flavor, but not as rich as at the Que Houng in Homewood. In addition to the usual sprouts and fresh basil condiments, they included a long herb that had a nice peppery flavor. The beef phos are $6.99.
    The summer roll was very good, although the dipping sauce was very ordinary. A little Sriracha helped considerably.
    The menu is very similar to Que Houng's, with various noodle soups, noodle stir-fries and rice plates, for $6.99. They also have several $9.99 standing specials and hot pots for $24.99 (such as duck sauteed with tofu, fresh vegetables and noodle; or assorted meat seafood and vegetables). Another hot pot I want to try sometime is goat curry.
    If you read this, Dax, I'm sad to report that they do not have the banh mi advertised on their menu (steamed or shredded pork for the low-low price of $2.99). The woman there said they've had trouble getting the ingredients they need.
    No beer or wine listed. They do have bubble tea.
    Sadly this has been a location where good restaurants go to die. I still lament the loss there of P's Oriental Gourmet, the city's best and most overlooked Chinese restaurant in the eight years I lived here. It had dim sum every day (carts on weekends) and offered Hong Kong-style dishes featuring ingredients like abalone and XO sauce.
    I wish Pho Hoang better luck. It's open seven days, and seems to have live music and/or karaoke on weekend nights.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Big Daddy

      I've eaten at Pho Hoang 5 times now, as it's a 10 minute drive. I formerly ate at Pho Que Huong as often as twice a week. I actually disagree somewhat with Big Daddy's assessment of the pho. I believe Pho Hoang's broth is consistently much more aromatic than is the broth at Que Huong in Homewood. On one visit to the Homewood restaurant, I remarked to the owner's son (I believe) that the soup smelled particularly wonderful. He explained that it had just been made.

      Big Daddy is correct that they STILL do not have the bahn mi, as well as several other items. On one day they did not have the Vietnamese coffee. Huh? I've not tried to order it since.

      One small thing that sets apart the new restaurant from the old is the fact that each table has not only Siracha, but fish sauce as well. The herb Big Daddy referred to is culantro (not to be confused with cilantro), I believe.

      1. re: G200

        Thanks so much for the info! Is it the same owner as Pho Que Huong or different ownership?

        1. re: mb123

          Different owners. I'll also say that the new restaurant seems to have quite a Vietnamese following. I hear a lot of Vietnamese spoken by the customers on my visits. I do hope they last.

          1. re: G200

            Culantro, huh? Thanks. I really enjoyed it.
            When I went today, about half of the customers were Asian, probably Vietnamese. There also were a lot of families there, diners both Western and Asian there with small children.
            I hope they do well and that they are soon able to offer everything their menu promises. We need more good Asian cuisine options, and Vietnamese food is great.