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Jan 6, 2012 11:42 PM

Pho Filet in South El Monte

A long overdue post from my pass through the southland in March . . . this was a reunion of sorts, a chance to share the table once more with former SF Bay Area ‘hounds, “chibi” and “LikeFrogButOoh”.

To start, a great appetizer, tom tau ku ky.

Tom Tau Hu Ky - Shrimp forcemeat wrapped in bean curd skin (yuba) and deep-fried, served with fresh herbs, veggies, and lettuce for wrapping. Yes, they do look like crispy tofu fingers. A little greasy but freshly fried with good crunch and flavor.

ComTam Dac Biet - Broken rice plate with Chinese sausage, shredded pork skin, steamed egg omelet, shrimp paste in bean curd skin, and pork chop. I didn’t try it.

Banh Xeo – Lovely Vietnamese crepe generously stuffed with cooked-to-order pork slices, grilled shrimp, soft sweet onions, and bean sprouts. Served with a pile of fresh herbs that dwarfed our two-year-old, and the variety of greenery beats what we have at home that time of year.

Pho Bac – The specialty here, this pho bo option featured pounded slices of filet mignon and wider fresh rice noodles.

Here’s a closer look at the pounded filet mignon. Loved the charred green onions and the idiosyncratic hit of fresh ginger that grew in intensity from steeping in the soup becoming quite powerful at the bottom of the bowl. Pho Filet’s stock has a heavier cinnamon component and is a bit sweeter than I prefer, but a still a fine job. Quite satisfying on this rare cold and stormy day.

Pho Filet
9463 Garvey Ave Ste A, South El Monte, CA 91733

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  1. Wonder how filet mignon compares to, say, Noodle Guy's "Kobe" beef pho.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I'm wondering too. I posted about the pho bac at Pho Filet because it doesn't seem to be on the chow radar, only turned up a couple brief mentions when I searched.

      Here's a link to the first mouth report on Noodle Guy's kobe pho.

      Noodle Guy
      1257 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

      1. re: Melanie Wong


        Pho Filet may not have been on the chow dar, but JG has covered it, so has the blogosphere:

        With Pho Huynh sporting a purer pho bac, Pho Filet is really only good for its treatment of the beef (and only when served rare). It's a beautiful segway between Noodle Guy and Pho Huynh. For more fanciful beef and heavy bouts of sweet anise, go with Noodle Guy. For $6 tenderloin with a balanced broth, Pho Filet. For a weekend clusterF**K zoo of unadulterated pho bac, done up super Northern, Pho Huynh at 8am.

        Not sure how the ginger is idiosyncratic? Perhaps textbook?

        At this level of execution, there is no "bad" pho, as every rendition just obliterates Golden Deli/Pho 888/Vietnam House.

        Caption: bo served tai at Filet. Accoutrements unnecessary.

        1. re: TonyC

          That much ginger is typical in the SoCal for pho bac? I could understand a touch is brewing the broth and a little bit of garnish as an accent. But Pho Filet heaves in so much that you're left with pungent, burning ginger tea toward the bottom of the bowl. Or maybe that's just my bowl because I was pushing it down and out of the way instead of chewing on the ginger. Then again, it's all about balance, and with the amount of cinnamon and clove in Pho Filet's broth, this heavier statement might be in order. I'll be interested in trying P. Huynh's lighter brew another time. Thanks for the rec.

          Pho Huynh
          9706 Garvey Ave, El Monte, CA 91733

          Pho Filet
          9463 Garvey Ave Ste A, South El Monte, CA 91733