New Vietnamese In Smithfield, RI- Pho Evergreen
Wife and I were excited to try a new Vietnamese rest- Pho Evergreen in Smithfield, RI in rt 44 near intersection with Greenville Ave.
We arrived on their first day they opened, went into sticker shock at seeing the menu- a bowl of Pho, large, was $12. I ordered it anyways and after waiting 40 minutes found it be a smaller portion than I expect form a Vietnamese rest after much less money. The flavor was good but not hot enough for me, it wasn't steaming like I am used to.
The menu looks interesting with soups and stir fry dishes but expensive $5.95 for 2 egg rolls for example. It's a beautiful space inside and would like to see them survive, but I think they would have to make some changes to keep patrons coming...
Dear Big Boy,
I hope that you will try Pho Evergreen again. My many experiences at the restaurant differ greatly from your one. I too was there for opening night and had a delightful meal. Of course, since it was opening night, one hopes you can forgive any errors made as the kinks are worked out. We were fortunate and experienced no problems at all, our server was engaging, knowledgable, and delivered our food promptly. It's been a while so I cannot remember the exact specifics of the evening but do remember that my companion had a Filet Mignon (we were shocked at the very reasonable price) that was perfectly cooked and delicious and I had a cabbage salad....it was the first time I'd ever had it and I am now thoroughly addicted, requiring at least one per week! The salad is very healthy and full of flavor.....they even made a slight change to accomodate my taste giving me a combination of beef, pork, chicken, and shrimp (hold the tofu, please). The meats are marinated to a tangy flavor, served cold with shredded cabbage, carrots, red peppers and peanuts. I like mine with a little extra lime juice.
I've had the wonton soup many times and find it to be the best I've EVER had. I recently tried the Pho Evergreen Special soup and while it may appear expensive, it is quite economical as a medium provided me with two meals. The beef, sprouts, and mint were fresh and delicious....the soup was incredibly hot (temperature) and it was explained that this is how it is traditionally served. If it wasn't hot enough for you spice-wise, just ask for extra sauce and you can dress it until you are satisfied.
I have yet to try the egg rolls but enjoy the spring rolls whcih are more like nime chow then Chinese Spring Rolls. The spring rolls also come with 2 differnt sauces, the fish sauce and peanut (which is more Cambodian-style than Vietnamese-style) and the traditional Vietnamese sauce which is a homemade peanut and hot sauce that is thick and creamy.
Other things that I enjoy greatly: beef skewers....without a doubt the best I have ever had....delicious marinade, chopped peanuts (you can request no peanuts) and a dipping sauce that I could drink by the bowl full!
Finally, I'd like to recommend the corn pudding. I had neve had it before and tried it recently. It's inexpensive and delicios, made from corn and tapioca pearls, it is heated, topped with cocnut milk and mint and served in a large martini glass. Not only is it beautiful, tasty, and reasonable priced....it's the perfect size for sharing. Pho Evergreen also has numerous other desserts including a banana flambe that could easily serve 4 and other traditional Vietnamese desserts.
As if the flavor, freshness and quality of food weren't enough to keep me coming back, I have found this family-run business to employ many knowledgable, personable,and helpful servers. The family, husband, wife, and 3 daughters are frequently at the restaurant and make a point to engage every customer. This is truly a place where one can enjoy a lunch or dinner with a friend or take advantage of their banquet space and 2 large (very large) screen tvs. I fully recommend Pho Evergreen without any hesitation.
Oh, and the menu has been re-done recently....new prices, new dishes....check it out on-line at www.phoevergreen.com.
I agree it is well worth the trip! I found the food very fresh and refreshing from most restaurants touting Vietnamese cuisine in New England.
I ordered the grilled shrimp with brown rice and requested no lettuce because of an allergy. This dish was $11.99. I got 10 jumbo grilled shrimp, about a cup of brown rice (more than sufficient) and 4 slices each of tomato and cucumber, with a spicy dipping sauce. I met a friend I hadn't seen in quite awhile and we stayed for nearly 3 hours - with no one rushing us out because we weren't ordering something. She had the original fried rice topped with chicken. With a generous tip, it was $28 for the two of us, slightly high but we thought worth it for the excellent and freshly cooked food.
I only encountered one problem. I originally ordered the lemon chicken combo plate but the sister who cooks was out making deliveries and the father, who was cooking in the kitchen until her return, didn't know how to prepare the lemon chicken...so I switched to the shrimp. I intend to go back in the hopes of trying the lemon chicken.
My wife & I enjoyed lunch at Pho Evergreen in Greenville, RI, just two hours ago. They are running a special promotion to celebrate their one-year anniversary: your choice of appetizer with any entree of $8.99 or more. We had: nime chow w/peanut sauce, fried egg rolls w/spicy sweet sauce, a medium pho w/eye round and one large serving of their Evergreen Special Pho (yes, that was mine). Total cost before tax & tip: $19.98. A real bargain for fresh, well-prepared food. My wife could not finish her medium-sized pho and took it home for later.
Unfortunately, they may not be around for much longer. The owner and his daughter told us how they were refused a liquor license because they are near a school. They were allowed to operate as a BYOB for a while, which helped, but that was taken away via the school Superintendent. They have been forced to refuse their regular customers who arrive with a bottle of wine.
It is difficult enough for any business to survive in this economy; it is especially sad to see a hard-working family who have taken the big gamble of betting their all on the American Dream have the rug pulled out from under their feet. You would think that a town government would deign to allow a local tax- & rent-paying business to survive instead of slipping the garrotte around its neck.
Can anyone help them?