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Grand Opening in Madison Hts., MI: Pho Viet Restaurant [Detroit area]

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  • VTB Apr 2, 2011 10:55 AM

Michigan’s “Little Vietnam” (Madison Hts.) added another restaurant this week-- Pho Viet, on 13 Mile Road at Ryan. This place long has had a tiny entrance with a sign saying “DJ and Karaoke Supplies,” while inside maintaining a nice, gigantic space with a night club liquor license and a stage for small live Vietnamese acts. I don’t much about, and that’s probably by design, since I’m a gringo.

Now that it became a restaurant as of this Wednesday, everyone is welcome and I certainly encourage you to check it out. Today I had a big bowl of brisket Pho (yes, unadventurous) and personally found it to be very tasty (but I’m no expert). $7.50. May not be the very best I’ve ever had in life, but certainly worthwhile, and I’ll soon return. I also had fresh spring rolls ($3.50) and they were excellent.

When the rolls arrived I thought I had been slammed with an up-sell, because they were big and contained fresh shrimp and pork (there’s a more expensive deluxe version, but according to my bill I indeed just got the regular dish I ordered). Yum. The environs are comparatively squeaky clean, too.

In addition to the squirt bottle of Huy Fong Sambal sriracha sauce there also was what seemed to be a homemade version offered in a little dish, and it was wonderful…just what my Pho needed. They had a homemade looking Thai chili paste, too, but I didn’t try it.

The owner “Michael” is the same person who started the nightclub with his partners. To get this restaurant going, they brought in a kitchen startup specialist. This Vietnamese chef (“Vincent”?) has launched twenty other Vietnamese restaurants, mostly in California and Texas—places that REALLY know Vietnamese food. Note: the floor staff’s English is startlingly poor, but that’s a good sign, right?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a review from Vietnamese food expert Black Lily, assuming she is at liberty to post about this place (she’s probably closely tied in with the Vietnamese food community, so taking sides may be a touchy issue). But, I know jjspw won’t hold anything back! Head over there, guys.

Pho Viet’s website is not up yet. Hours are M-W 10am to 11pm (nice), and Thu-Sun 10am to 1:30am (Wow!!). 586-558-8115. Right next door to M.H.’s Sweet Dreams Bakery. Cheers

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  1. Nice find, VTB! Hope to check it out soon! I've seen that "DJ & Party" sign for years, always hoping something great would move into that strip mall. I have high hopes! :-)

    1. VTB -- did you notice if they also had banh mi? Best I've ever had was, I think, as 13 and Dequindre in a place that seems similar to this.

      6 Replies
      1. re: berkleybabe

        Hi b.b. Yes, it is on offer, in a prominent place on the front of the menu. But, there also was a sticker over the bahn mi, noting that it was "not yet available." (for whatever reason.)
        I would certainly think it will be available by the end of the month.

        Thank you guys for not having trashed me for failing to list a Pho Viet comparison versus Que Huong, Pho Hang, etc.. But, for various reasons, it's just been too long since I've been to those other nearby places. So, I didn't feel right in ranking them.

        -----
        Pho Hang Restaurant
        30921 Dequindre Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

        Que Huong Restaurant
        30820 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

        1. re: VTB

          Looking forward to trying it...will post when I do.

          1. re: VTB

            The Best Banh Mi around here is from the supermarket at John R and 12.5. Its in the small strip mall across the street from the Big Boy. They use the right type of mayo, pate, headcheese/meat concoction. And its reasonably priced.

            Don

            1. re: donbui82

              Here are a couple photos from our lunch

              spring roll
              spicy beef lemongrass pho
              beef pho w/ rare beef and welldone brisket

               
               
               
              1. re: berkleybabe

                I had those same spring rolls on Wednesday afternoon. They were good, but I'm still spoiled by the ones I used to get at Ny's Thai Cafe. One of the big reasons was the dipping sauce: the one at Ny's was sweet and spicy, with crushed peanuts added to it. It was divine, back when Ny's was around.

                These were fine, and packed with shrimp, but my shrimp was pretty flavorless. Not sure that there's much the location can do about that, but for $5 out the door (tax and tip included, there), I wasn't complaining.

                The pho does, indeed, look quite good!

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Thanks to VTB we were able to check out the newcomer restaurant in "Little Saigon" area of our fair metropolis. Verdict: It's a keeper. We'll be back.

                  The space, formerly a nightclub is in a small strip mall. The space is surprisingly large and spacious with nice parquet woodwork, modern halogen table lights and sleek black furniture. The service is sincere, warm and welcoming. We were even thanked for our question about the cilantro garnish.

                  We started with very generous spring rolls ($3.50/2) that were full of fresh shrimp and delicious herbs. Accompanying peanut dipping sauce is addictive, the best I've had at any of the other Vietnamese places.

                  I ordered the beef pho with rare (yes rare!) beef and well-done brisket ($7.50). The meat was juicy, thin-sliced and served in a large portion. Beef broth was meaty, a little light on spices (start anise), but in a good way. Very generous pho/rice noodles. A wonderful meal -- and the beansprout, thai basil, cilantro, lime, and jalepeno garnish was not only beautiful but bountiful and delicious.

                  Kim had the spicy beef lemongrass ($7.50). It came with a generous portion of beef and a couple unfortunate chunks of liver (which she removed) and had a well-rounded warmth and clear taste of spice and citrus-y lemongrass. The flour noodles weren't quite as large a serving as the pho, but well cooked.

                  The bill for this came out to an even $20.

                  The quality of the meal, nice surroundings and the sincerity and warmth of the service speaks, I hope, to a long run for this newcomer.

                  Pho Viet
                  3854 E. 13 Mile Rd
                  Warren, MI 48092
                  586-558-8115

          2. VTB, my pal Kim and I went today for lunch. It's a real find...such warm service. I think they're staffed mainly by Vietnamese moms/grandmas who find it a delight to feed you. We asked a question about the cilantro, and our charming lady said, "Thank you so very much for your question!" I had the beef pho w/ rare beef and welldone brisket -- large, juicy thin sliced meat was in a very generous/large portion. My friend had the spicy lemongrass beef. Both were just delicious. We had the spring rolls as well -- you're right, they were huge and packed with shrimp and fresh herbs, and also had the best peanut dipping sauce I've had. A definite go-to spot. We'll be back! Highly recommend.

            1. I went to Pho Viet for lunch today and had the Bun bo Hue (Lemongrass beef soup with rice noodles). The dish needed the hoisin sriracha treatment to get going but it was a different broth than pho to be sure. Being no expert I think I will keep trying the different broth/noodle combos until I find my preference.

              I too had the summer roll with shrimps and like Sir Boagman found the fresh herbs to be the best part.

              It was kind of interesting to be served by no less than 5 young people four of whom were practicing their midwest english. I got everything I ordered with a nice smile but it was kind of fun to see them getting their resto legs going.

              I'm going to let this one mature a bit before returning. There are just too many good/mature places in that area and Viet Pho will have to grow into it a bit.

              2 Replies
              1. re: goatgolfer

                Bun Bo Hue is a very different broth from Pho. If you guys like that dish, try Thuy Trang and add their chili infused oil.

                That'd be unusual to add liver. If they were dark gelatinous chunks of "stuff" its probably congealed blood blocks. I'll have to swing by this weekend. My curiosity is piqued!

                don

                -----
                Thuy Trang Restaurant
                30491 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

                1. re: donbui82

                  Yeah that was more than likely blood cake in there, it definitely had a "liver" flavor to it. Although, I prefer eating that to actual liver. I had a really good version of Bo Bun Hue at Que Huong before.

                  -----
                  Que Huong Restaurant
                  30820 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

              2. My GF and I just had dinner there tonight.

                We started out with the goi cuon (spring rolls). I had the pho chin Ve Dong (Well-done steak and brisket), and she had the com suon bi cha trung (rice, with pork chop, quiche, fried egg, and shredded pork.

                First off, its a nice spot. Large and clean. I didn't check out the bathrooms, but I anticipate them to be proportional to the rest of the place.

                Spring rolls: Not bad. Better than most of the other offerings in Madison Heights. Lots of shrimp, warm pliable rice paper. They actually have a strands of chive along the whole length of the roll, with a tail hanging out. Very authentic. Lots of shrimp inside too. They lose points for in-correct herbs inside, and the pork slice was skimpy. Overall, pretty good.

                Pho: Compared to everything else in Madison Heights, based upon this one bowl, they probably have the best overall offering. Decent broth, noodles, and meat, with an excellent ratio of all three. I'll give it a whirl another time to see if my opinion wavers.

                Com: Again. Not bad. Probably the best overall vietnamese rice plate in Madison heights. BIg props to their Bi, or shredded pork. Its basically shredded pork meat with shredded pork skin seasoned with rice and garlic powder. Its the best I've had in Michigan with real 50% meat to skin ratio. If you try it at Pho Hang. its ALL skin. The pork chop was not bad too. About par with the other restaurants. Fried egg, no restaurant should mess that one up. Their quiche wasn't very good. Dry and lifeless. Skip that order.

                I will go back to try their bun bo hue to compare it to Thuy Trangs. This may take the nod for overall best vietnamese (noodle) restaurant in Se-MI. Pho Hang gets the nod for having a larger variety of basic/homestyle dinner dishes.

                Don

                -----
                Pho Hang Restaurant
                30921 Dequindre Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

                Thuy Trang Restaurant
                30491 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071

                1 Reply
                1. re: donbui82

                  I tried the Bo Bun Hue and I really enjoyed it. Service was super friendly ( The waiter gave me a side of crushed shrimp paste because he said he liked dipping the pig feet in it. Good call.) I didn't see any Bahn Mi on the menu, but Saigon Market makes them fresh to order now, so I picked up a couple on the way home.

                2. Hi VTB,
                  Good to know you remember me. :)
                  I did a review of Pho Viet on yelp. Tried the place during the first week of opening. Liked.
                  My 2 cents:
                  _If you want carry out, show up and make sure they understand you. They fail (pretty miserbly) when handling carry out call. For example I showed up and asked for fried chilly paste (sate) to put in my Bun Bo Hue (it's the red chilly stuff on the table) and the server had no clue until I pointed it out to him. He was amazed haha.
                  _Again for carry out food, tell them to put MORE noodle in your food. They will give plenty of meat/veggie but skimp on noodle. My reasoning is that they are serving vnese portion (we dont really eat a lot :D )
                  _They tried to train their wait staff but somehow failed. Well, most of the ait staff are kids. Even the caucasion waitress are a bit clueless. BUT they do take suggestion pretty nicely so please dont be offended/taken away because of that.
                  Food:
                  I like their food. Wont say it much better than Thuy Trang but it's decent. Less expensive than Que Huong. They are cleaner than Thuy Trang :).
                  Try: Pho, Bun Bo Hue, Bi CUon, Goi Cuon and Avocado smoothie.
                  Yelp review:
                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/pho-viet-rest...

                  _
                  _

                  1. went back for their Bun Bo Hue.

                    I try to judge ethnic foods on two things.
                    1) Authenticity. How true is it to what its "supposed" to be.
                    2) Overall goodness. For example: lettuce wraps at PF changs. You'll never see that dish served in any true asian restaurant... but you gotta admit, pretty damn tasty.

                    Unfortunately, their Bun Bo Hue falls flat on both accounts. I didn't think it was very good. Flat broth, wrong meat types. If you like this dish, you've got to try Thuy Trang's with lots of chili oil in it.

                    But maybe it was an offday, because a bowl of pho was also ordered that day, and it was a noticeable step backwards from my first time there.

                    Don