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Pho Le Redbank NJ

Tapas52 Jul 12, 2011 06:59 AM

I finally had the chance to try Pho Le in Redbank Sunday afternoon, =Mark joined me for this wonderful Vietnamese experience. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere was hip & modern in this restaurant space. We were greeted warmly and our server was friendly and informative suggesting a few popular appetizers for us to start off with that were simply delicious.. First we had the crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls Crispy fried rolls stuffed with shrimp, pork, & vegetables (house recipe), served with fresh Mint & Cilantro sprigs with a special spicy sauce and lettuce to roll your own. next came the – Fresh Summer Rolls, Vietnamese Spring rolls wrapped in Rice paper stuffed with Jumbo shrimp, pork and noodles. Served with peanut sauce for dipping these were pure heaven. We decided to share a Grill Pork Banh Mi baquette sandwich with Avocado, pate, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, jalapenos & pickle daikon, I really enjoyed this the different textures and crispy French bread were a perfect combination of flavors. For our main we ordered the Hot and Spicy Beef Sautéed sliced beef with lemongrass, onions and curry sauce, served with your choice of rice or noodles another very good flavorful dish with a nice sauce to compliment the white rice, although we requested it very hot & spicy hot it could of been a bit hotter, although a nice array of spicy condiments were nestled in a small box on out table to choose from. All in all a very nice meal, somewhere I would recommend & definitely return to try some more items on the menu.

http://www.saigon2.com/

Pho Le Vietnamese Restaurant
90 Broad Street,
Red Bank, NJ
732-530-1598

  1. MGZ Jun 21, 2012 07:04 AM

    Ok, so, yesterday was the third meal here in a month (if you don't already know, the Count Basie puts seats on sale for concerts at half price the day of - last night was Steve Miller. I realized, while enjoying the first performance of "The Window " in 30 years, that I have been listening to his music for 5 decades now . . . which is weird 'cause I'm just starting on the downhill side of 40). In honesty, I'd say it's a high B+, maybe A-, restaurant. Which, in a B- restaurant town, makes it close to Best in Show (North of the Border, Bagel Oven, and cocktails at Red, also helping to boost the cumulative average - alright, Bagel Oven is BIS, but they close at 3 and have a very limited menu),

    Anyway, here's my (unsolicited) thoughts. The Pho is pretty good - I've had better, Little Saigon in AC and a few spots in DC back in the 90s, but it's pretty solid. The stir fry dishes are also quite tasty, and if you ask for extra spicy on the appropriate ones, powerful examples of the cuisine. The Super Bowl, with shredded pork, is a pleaser for almost any palate, especially those trained on Chinese food. Also, on the guilty pleasure side of things, the Vietnamese Spring Rolls are a truly worthy appetizer - crispy rolls tucked in lettuce and herbs, dipped in a sweet-tangy sauce, oh yeah.

    Finally, since it's BYO, stop by the Wine Cellar, around the corner on Monmouth Street. The Magic Hat "Not Quite IPA", a Reisling, or one of the wines from the Languedoc, all work with more than one or two menus items - and for less than 15 bucks. (I don't share Seal's zeal* for the town, but it has its upsides).

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MGZ
      JustJake Jun 21, 2012 09:11 AM

      MGZ, aware of the half day price/day of show with my having taken advantage of same in the past (it's all about stretching one's dollars and enjoying life as much as we can), and I can happily concur that I've listened to Steve's music for just as long if not longer. Had a snowball fight with his crew one February 1972 nite in which we exited the gym and found 4" of fresh snow up at school. Wonderful memories - he shared the bill with Jackson Browne that evening.

      Now,....thanks for the update on the restaurant, and I will humbly admit that I make a mean Viet Spring Roll (check my profile) -- that in of itself, will not deter me from ordering, though I'm less than enthused about the prospect of a peanut based dipping sauce (no allergies here with my never having ordered a Pad Thai or a peanut based curry dish in this lifetime --- but love a PBJ and cold glass of milk for late nite snack). I much prefer a plum based chili dipping sauce or a tamarind chili sauce. Works that much better for this writer's pallate.

      With friends returning home (one from NH,on business trip and another from Kennedy after dropping off a daughter for her trip to Europe) - I will be picking up the beverages. A couple of semi sweet Germans are already envisioned (Reisling, Spatalese etc) and for my beer drinking engineer pal flying in from Boston, a 6 pack of MH summer ale is definitely in store).

      Now, what to order. I made a kicking Spicy Beef stir fry last nite with wide rice noodles and Thai basil so I'll probably consider a curry with seafood or even a tofu vegetarian dish.

      Life is good.

      1. re: JustJake
        MGZ Jun 21, 2012 10:33 AM

        The rolls I mentioned are fried and finger sized. They are served with a vinegar based sauce. The rice paper rolls, called "summer rolls" on their menu come with the peanut sauce.

        You might want to have someone order the Pepper Shrimp - it's pretty hot and tastes great. Nice big shrimps.

        In '72, I think was just making my first snowball. You might like this, however: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/steve-m...

        1. re: MGZ
          MGZ Jun 21, 2012 10:42 AM

          Actually, I think this one's even cooler: http://www.wolfgangsvault.com/steve-m... They're both awesome, though.

          1. re: MGZ
            equal_Mark Jun 21, 2012 11:57 AM

            The confusion is understandable. On the menu the first 2 words in the description of the Summer Rolls is "Spring Rolls."

            1. re: equal_Mark
              JustJake Jun 21, 2012 02:15 PM

              I'll order the cold spring rolls and ask for a vinegar based dipper. They should be able to accommodate us

              1. re: JustJake
                j
                joonjoon Jun 22, 2012 10:11 AM

                Jake, you really should try the fried rolls at Pho Le, it's exemplary.

                1. re: joonjoon
                  equal_Mark Jun 22, 2012 10:48 AM

                  +1 on the eggrolls. Don't forget to ask for the condiment tray...

                  1. re: equal_Mark
                    JustJake Jun 22, 2012 01:41 PM

                    With that sort of recommendation and from a man with your stature ;-), I will indeed order the fried rolls. Just waiting for my chariot as we have 5:30 reservations. Thanks again.

                    1. re: equal_Mark
                      JustJake Jun 23, 2012 06:14 AM

                      Nice. What more can I say? But REAL NICE. After a stop and go start (traffic is awful anymore at Friday rush hour in and around RB - then throw in the gates going down for the North Jersey Coast Line) - well we finally arrived (nearly 15 minutes late for our table) which was cool with our hosts. And what was a seating for 5 started out as 3some, with the rest joining us soon after as we finished up our appetizers (the eggroll and veggie roll). They're delicious with there being a spare bowl (the vinegar based sauce) for my dipping later on (see tuna salad). Liked the romaine and mint/cilantro 'augment' on the eggroll. Really added a nice dynamic and flavor to eating em. The vegetarian spring roll was just as good.

                      I had the tuna salad which was terrific - wasabi guacamole (I love heat!) and nice greens accompanying a healthy (every bit of 5-7 oz) piece of lightly breaded tuna was just perfect. One friend also had same (and we happily dipped our tuna in that sauce); others the peppery shrimp (this I'll have the next time), Souper Bowl and a seafood based soup.

                      This place deserves a return and soon just to try out some of the other dishes. Nice room, nice experience and nice that it's here for our enjoyment. It's been way too long a stretch of having gone without this cuisine (for me). Sometimes I think I'm on Mars with my not having noticed this place. Time to make up for lost time. Thanks all.

        2. MGZ May 29, 2012 09:06 AM

          I have come to the point where this place is my favorite spot in Red Bank to dine. North of the Border has some fantastic food, but, let's face it, the lack of tables and ambiance is a detriment. The noodles, pho, bahn mi, etc., all good.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MGZ
            JustJake Jun 17, 2012 09:57 AM

            Dining there this coming Friday as we do a show at the Basie. Looking forward to it based on reviews still remaining pretty solid.

            1. re: JustJake
              equal_Mark Jun 19, 2012 08:00 AM

              Keep in mind that they tend to fill up pretty quickly on weekends. They will accept reservations for partys of 4 or more...

              1. re: equal_Mark
                MGZ Jun 19, 2012 08:28 AM

                Good point. We were there at "prime" dinner time this past Friday and wound up sitting at the "bar" (which was actually quite cool). We experienced no delays in service, but I think they may recognize us now. Nevertheless, Jake, enjoy & let us know what you think.

                1. re: MGZ
                  JustJake Jun 20, 2012 08:44 AM

                  Thanks to both of you. I recall reading that it was a 'shoebox' and advised one of my friends to call it in as we will be a party of 5 - so we're all set with reservations..

                  I will let you know how we make out. It's the least one can do when asking for restaurant recommendations, etc. Disappointing when you respond to someone looking for a rec - and you never hear from them again as to their experience.

                  Thanks again.

          2. equal_Mark Mar 7, 2012 07:21 PM

            Had a great Bahn Mi here on Monday for lunch. Got the grilled pork with avocado, pate, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, cilantro, pickled daikon and house made hot sauce. The baguette it was served on was amazing! Crusty, buttery and crisp...

            1. w
              wannasmith Aug 9, 2011 02:48 PM

              I went there for lunch today. I got the crepe appetizer. It was tasty when eaten wrapped in the lettuce and coriander and dipped in the dipping sauce. It is messy eating. Ask for extra napkins up front. I recommend cleaning your hands before eating. The plate kept sliding around when I tried to slice the crepes. I had to bring the 2nd crepe home for dinner. My friend had the curry chicken with rice and said it was good.

              The place was not crowded but it was noisy enough to make it difficult to hear conversation and it was uncomfortably hot. The waitress did not automatically refill my water glass when empty.

              1. c
                cantkick Jul 15, 2011 07:42 AM

                We went last night, and frankly, we were somewhat disappointed.

                The crispy egg rolls were super. The summer rolls were pretty good, too, but not in the same class.

                Our favorite appy from Saigon 2, the shrimp sugar cane, was nowhere to be found.

                I had a beef Pho. Pretty good, very filling (I only had half, which is highly unusual for me, to say the least), and a great value. But I remember some of the other ones being better.

                My wife and daughter had what seemed to be their favorite from S2, the chicken stir fry. It had the same ingredients, but was spiced differently, and had too much sauce. They said it was only ok.

                My son didn't like his chicken dish, but his idea of Asian food is hibachi or a couple of generic things for takeout, so I'm discounting his opinion.

                All in all, it was ok, but not what we were hoping for based on our experiences in Lincroft. I might stop by for some Bahn Mi if I'm in town at lunch time, but we probably won't return for dinner.

                5 Replies
                1. re: cantkick
                  TomT Jul 20, 2011 10:50 AM

                  Daughter and I just enjoyed a wonderful lunch there. Summer Rolls, Spring rolls, both solid as previously reported. I had the beef pho, while the girl had some chicken/cilantro type pho. Both were great, flavors were clean and tasty. Looking forward to a return trip with the rest of the family.

                  Also, they were pretty busy for a midweek lunch. Good for them, hope they keep it up.

                  1. re: TomT
                    equal_Mark Jul 20, 2011 12:02 PM

                    Did you mean the crispy eggrolls? There are no spring rolls on the menu...

                    1. re: equal_Mark
                      TomT Jul 20, 2011 02:01 PM

                      Yes, sorry, my mistake. The Vietnamese Eggrolls.

                      And the soup my daughter had was not a pho, but the S6, Shredded Chicken and Bean Thread Noodles.

                      1. re: TomT
                        Tapas52 Jul 21, 2011 08:16 AM

                        Tom glad to hear you had an enjoyable time, hope to hear more reviews on your next trip with the family.

                        1. re: Tapas52
                          TomT Aug 1, 2011 02:16 PM

                          OK, went back with the boy last night. The girls were out visiting, next time we'll get all 4 together. :)

                          Not much too add to previous report as we got the same apps and my son enjoyed the leftover s6, so he ordered it again. I got the Vietnamese Meat Ball pho and enjoyed it. Never having had Vietnamese meat balls I was unprepared for their firmness and frankly, lack of flavor. It was still enjoyable, glad I tried it, but probably wouldn't order it again.

                          Also, at 7:45 on a Sunday night they were packed, but the place across the street (Temple) was as well. Guess everyone had a long day on the beach and went out.

                2. Deb Van D Jul 12, 2011 11:35 AM

                  Thanks for your report; I look forward to giving the place a try.

                  Generally, Vietnamese is not a hot and spicy cuisine. It’s fresh and subtle, a balance of textures and flavors with mint, lemongrass, coriander and fish sauce. They might call the beef "Hot and Spicy" but generally you will have to rely on the condiments to kick it up to that in any Vietnamese restaurant.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Deb Van D
                    Tapas52 Jul 12, 2011 11:54 AM

                    Deb Van D ...initially I was confusing it with Thai regarding the Spicy factor which I'm very used to & enjoy immensely.... but now I am slowly learning about VN cuisine after my first try. Thank you for the info.

                    1. re: Tapas52
                      Deb Van D Jul 12, 2011 12:44 PM

                      Sad to say, if you had gone to a Thai restaurant around here you wouldn't have gotten it spicy either. But that's another story . . .

                      1. re: Deb Van D
                        j
                        joonjoon Jul 12, 2011 12:47 PM

                        That's why I used to roll with a bottle of Dave's insanity in my pocket. But the good news is at any thai/viet joint you can always ask for extra hot peppers on the side. I like to jack up my pho with tons of extra sliced peppers.

                        1. re: joonjoon
                          Deb Van D Jul 12, 2011 01:35 PM

                          That's funny. We took a bottle of Sriracha to Far East Taste hoping he would take the hint, but he didn't.

                          -----
                          Far East Taste
                          19 Main St, Eatontown, NJ 07724

                          1. re: Deb Van D
                            j
                            joonjoon Jul 12, 2011 01:37 PM

                            Are you having trouble getting the heat level you want at FET Deb? I usually ask for "three chilis" and it's really, really hot when I get it that way.

                            1. re: joonjoon
                              Deb Van D Jul 12, 2011 05:07 PM

                              Alas, joonjoon we were discouraged enough after several meals at FET that we gave up. Nice folks, fresh ingredients, but spicing levels aside, the dishes were all too similar to tempt us further.

                            2. re: Deb Van D
                              Tapas52 Jul 12, 2011 01:42 PM

                              We are anxious to go for dinner at Han Dynasty in Philly for the real "heat deal" !!

                              http://www.handynasty.net/

                              Spicy Hot Pot (10) ;-)

                            3. re: joonjoon
                              equal_Mark Jul 12, 2011 01:44 PM

                              1 bottle? Piker! :-)

                               
                            4. re: Deb Van D
                              equal_Mark Jul 12, 2011 01:32 PM

                              Actually a recent meal we had down at Siam Basil in Sea Girt was nicely spiced, and we were assured that it could be made much hotter..

                        2. j
                          joonjoon Jul 12, 2011 08:50 AM

                          Wow that sounds like some good chowin Tapas!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: joonjoon
                            Tapas52 Jul 12, 2011 08:56 AM

                            joonjoon it was my first Vietnamese experience & I really enjoyed it.....check it out sometime.

                            1. re: Tapas52
                              j
                              joonjoon Jul 12, 2011 09:44 AM

                              I've been to Pho Le, the place is pretty solid. For me the highlight there is always the crispy rolls...there's some serious flavors and textures going on in those rolls, and I love the cool of the lettuce mixed with the hot crunchy rolls.

                              The staple of Viet food is a good heapin' bowl of Pho though. Go back and get some! And make sure you try their "Super Bowl"...the stuff is fantastic.

                              1. re: joonjoon
                                equal_Mark Jul 12, 2011 09:50 AM

                                We considered the Pho, but a 90 degree Summer day just didn't seem to lend itself to a huge steaming bowl of soup...

                                1. re: joonjoon
                                  Tapas52 Jul 12, 2011 09:56 AM

                                  joon joon is the "Super Bowl" on the menu?

                                  1. re: Tapas52
                                    j
                                    joonjoon Jul 12, 2011 10:08 AM

                                    I'm pretty sure I remember seeing it on the menu. It's like a warm-cool noodle salad with everything in it; great on a hot day. But I personally like to sweat it out with a boiling hot bowl of Pho! :D

                                  2. re: joonjoon
                                    a
                                    adamatic Sep 30, 2011 02:29 PM

                                    The "super bowl" is a once a week staple for me

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