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Jan 25, 2009 07:38 AM

Pho n' Rice - Somerville

Driving by Petsi Pies today I noticed right next door in the old Zoe's space there is a sign up for a new Pho place, I think it said Pho n' Rice vietnamese and thai restaurant. Zoe's has moved across the street apparently. Is Pho n' Rice open yet? Anyone know anything else about it? It would be great to have a good Pho place in the neighborhood :-)

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  1. Checked it out tonight on my way to the (lovely, lovely) new Zoe's. Pho'n'Rice not open yet - still remodeling a fair bit - but there are menus waiting outside. Looks to be 7 days/week, $2 delivery charge. I don't know much about Pho beyond pronunciation (thanks to Seattle's "What the Pho"), but I recognized some standards on the menu.

    For those who know, the menu is divided into: apps, salads, soups, fried rice and:
    Bun (vermicelli), Pho, Banh Hoi (steamed vermicelli patties), stir fried noodle.
    Then some seafoods, some well known dishes of the chicken lemongrass variety,
    red/green/yellow/mango/avocado curries, and some lunch combos.

    they've parked but nothing's up yet.

    7 Replies
    1. re: enhF94

      Thanks for the update. I picked up a menu myself during this weekends Petsi Pie run, it looks good. I'm excited that they offer shrimp paste wrapped over sugar cane as one of the Bun toppings. I've missed that ever since Pho #1 in Woburn took it off their menu. There was also a Grand Opening sign outside Pho n' Rice, so maybe Saturday afternoon was the opening?

      1. re: Aphex

        went by sun late morning/early afternoon and they were closed.

        1. re: autopi

          I talked with someone there yesterday who said they are hoping to open on Thursday. He said the restaurant is ready; they are just waiting for the city to test and approve the fire alarm system.

          1. re: peng

            They said that the prior Thursday also. Danny's Diner had the same trouble with delays from the city approving stuff. I still haven't tried the new Zoe's locale, but I heard it's still BYO from my roommate.

            Also, just FYI on the little strip forming there... Danny bought the place next to his own place, but couldn't get a liquor license. The plan was to open a Mexican sit-down joint, but he scrapped it and leased the place to Zoe's. So - my guess is that the new PhoNRice is somehow linked to the Zoe's owners? Which, of course, would be awesome.

            1. re: fafatodd

              a couple of nights ago, while getting takeout, i asked the zoe's owner (i think he's the owner?) about pho n' rice. he said he doesn't have anything to do with the place and that it was owned by some thai people.

            2. re: peng

              Today, they said they won't be open on Thursday, but will be open this Saturday.

              1. re: peng

                Awesome, thanks for the follow up Peng. I stopped up there again tonight to check, too. Looks like they still had a lil work goin on.

      2. I've seen the sign too and am eagerly awaiting the opening. Would any of you fine chowhounders care to try it once it does? We could organize a dinner there for starters - how about Sat/Sun night?

        1. Hi. Just ate here for lunch and was so happy with this place that I wanted to come home and post about it. Anyways, had thai iced tea, a small pho tai, the bun with grilled pork/shrimp/egg roll, and their tom yum fried rice with crispy chicken. I think it's been mentioned here that everyone that works here seems to be Thai, but the two Vietnamese dishes we ordered were awesome.

          their pho broth was really good, rice, but not too salty, and well balanced. Usually I have to augment broth with either sugar, spice, or lime, but this broth needed nothing.

          the dipping sauce that came with the bun seemed like there wouldn't be enough of it, but it ended up being the perfect amount. The pork is very flavorful and grilled nicely with charred bits. I wouldn't order shrimp again, though. I would just get pork and the egg roll.

          The tom yum fried rice was executed well, lots of fresh kaffir lime leaf flavor, lemongrass and nam prik pao (chili paste) the fried chicken on top was crispy and juicy.

          so happy to have a place like this around the corner.

          11 Replies
          1. re: ysb

            This is great news. Thanks for the report, ysb.

            1. re: ysb

              My dining partner had to work late last night, so we didn't get there until lunchtime today. After years of saying, "Why isn't there anyplace in Somerville that serves Vietnamese food, when there are places in Arlington, Medford, Malden, Everett, and Woburn?" I am so pleased to have this new restaurant here, and glad to find that it is very good too. I had the seafood noodle soup, and found the broth very flavorful, but not too salty. The seafood items also tasted better than the usual I've found elsewhere. Tried a bit of the pork that came with bun and thought it quite tasty.

              Was disappointed that they don't have Vietnamese coffee yet, but I'm sure it will be there soon. The staff was friendly, and I was very chuffed to see that every table was full shortly after we arrived. Looks like I'm not the only person who's been waiting for pho and bun to arrive in town.

              I also am looking forward to trying their Thai food, although I am a fan of Lemon Thai on Highland Ave. and Tom Yum Koong in Medford.

              1. re: peng

                Lemon Thai is properly not going to suffer too much, since they are on the other side of Somerville Ave., but it will be interesting to see if they siphon off some of Sugar and Spice's business.

                1. re: peng

                  Is there really a Vietnamese restaurant in Arlington? Surely not...

                  1. re: jkv

                    You're thinking of Lexington or perhaps Weston. ;-b

                    1. re: jkv

                      Lady Siam. I ate a half-frozen piece of Shumai, and found the Pho Ga bland with rubbery overdone chicken. My wife and I are simply not returning. We only went there because Toraya had a line.

                      1. re: marcreichman

                        Hmm, with a name like Lady Siam, I would assume it' s Thai, not Vietnamese....

                          1. re: hiddenboston

                            Well, there's a recipe for excellence...;)
                            You'd have to assume the original focus was Thai, tho...

                            1. re: galleygirl

                              I think their focus should be staying in business, as that street corner is jinxed, LOL...

                        1. re: marcreichman

                          Sounds fabulous. I'd have to think, though, that Lady Siam, regardless of their menu, is no place to get Vietnamese good. Likewise with Pho n Rice.

                          Be all that as it may, I clearly will need to hit PnR, as I no longer really consider Le's a viable option (though the only option in Som/Camb/Arl). I pretty much could eat bun every day, given the chance.

                  2. Went last night with a friend and was impressed with the quality and the range of options on the menu. We didn't explore many of them, though - I had the "small" bowl of pho tai, which came with nice quality beef in a light and beautifully flavored broth; my friend had the bo kho ("vietnamese style spicy beef stew cooked with spice and ground lemongrass") and a vietnamese iced coffee. Portions were generous for the price ($5.95 and $7.95) and service was very attentive - lots of water refills and people stopping by the table to see if we were enjoying the food. And the place seems to be doing well already - it stayed about 3/4 full the whole time we were there. One surprising thing was the relative lack of stir-ins for the pho - a lot of (slightly wilted) basil, a few tiny pieces of lime, and none of the promised bean sprouts. Maybe they ran out (we were there around 7 on Sunday)? But overall a good addition to the neighborhood - pho's especially nice to have around this time of year! (Brrrr!)

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: rovingfoodie

                      My husband and I've been here twice so far. We tried beef pho, pad thai, chicken pho, and pork chop rice plate and liked everything. The food is solidly good and the price can't be beat! We plan to eat here more often. It's nice to have a Vietnamese restaurant in this neighborhood. BTW, we had bean sprouts with our pho... It looks like they are still straightening out the kinks. They didn't have bun noodles tonight and no spring rolls because their deep fryer wasn't working.

                      1. re: toki

                        We’ve had take-out from Pho n Rice 3 times in the short time it’s been open. Overall impression is quite positive; not a destination place, and there’s certainly no ambience, but it’s a great take-out addition to the neighborhood.

                        My first time I got duck noodle soup. The broth was almost too rich for even me – this coming from someone who calls herself Triple Crème. There was also an intact duck heart in the broth, which sent the dish into too-much-authenticity territory for my sensibilities. But I’m sure many braver Hounds would disagree.

                        Mr. Crème loved his Pho Ga (chicken pho).

                        Next time Mr. Crème had Tom Yum Noodle soup, and it’s not as flavorful as another in our neighborhood, Tamarind House. I had the Salmon with Tomatoes, which was superb, and so fresh that the leftovers made for a great lunch the next day.

                        The third time we tried Mango Fried Rice with Tofu – a keeper, and Caramelized Fish – not so much (nothing wrong with it; just a bit one-dimensional).

                        The main downside of the place so far is the staff’s unfamiliarity with the menu. Each time I have arrived and ordered, the kitchen staff have come out repeatedly with questions that should have been raised from the get-go. “Salmon or catfish?” “Is it ok to include shrimp or just chicken?” For that reason, combined with the staff’s limited English, I wouldn’t order takeout over the phone yet.

                        But these are minor quirks. I plan to frequent this place, and next I want to try Tangerine Shrimp, and Wild Boar Basil.

                        1. re: triple creme

                          Have to agree about the staff! the first time we went I just ordered in English and towards the end of the meal was speaking Thai with the older women who were hanging around the restaurant. The second time there I ordered in Thai thinking that it would help a little, but had to repeat a couple of times in English and in Thai. My thai isn't awesome though, but when I speak Thai with the Rod Dee or Dok Bua staff they seem to understand fine.

                          1. re: triple creme

                            Just a quick note about Tamarind House - not a heck of a lot of mention on the board - it tends to get overlooked for the shiny pennies in the neighborhood, but I feel like it's been there forever -

                            Have recently ordered take-out of green curry (with all green and white veggies), pad kee mow (the spicy one with the basil), papaya salad, bean thread noodle pad thai-style - everything was really deeply flavorful and spicy (when advertised), but not particularly heavy - veggies very fresh. Becoming our go-to thai place.

                            Tamarind House
                            1790 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              Been a while since I ate there, but always thought that TH was pretty decent Thai.

                      2. I'm not familiar with Somerville, but am thinking of going to Pho n' Rice for lunch tomorrow. I looked on Google Map Street View to try to get a sense of the location... what's the parking situation there? Looks like it's street parking only? How far is it from the Star Market?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: y2000k

                          No problem parking on the street I think - there will either be 2 hour parking or meters. The Star Market parking lot is 10 steps from the door. No comment on whether they tow. It's Somerville, so unlike its neighbor to the west, you will not be harassed for parking.

                          1. re: y2000k

                            plenty of street parking. and you can stop for dessert at petsi pies afterwards!