Pho Mai Bridgeport CT - Opinions?
Hello fellow chowhounders,
The options for Pho in Fairfield County are pretty slim, so when a new joint pops up, I take interest.
I used to regularly visit Pho Mekong in Westport, (now Shake Shack I believe) and I would occasionally visit Pho Saigon in Bridgeport. I never went to the short-lived Pho Garden, and now I'm craving Pho again.
I've heard a couple good things about the new Pho Mai in Bridgeport (I guess there's a Pho Mai in Middletown as well, not sure if they're related) in that the quality was good, prices were cheap, and despite only being a short trip up Wood Ave, it was a little less sketchy than Pho Saigon.
I was hoping to reach out to chowhound nation and see if some folks from around here had been by to check it out.
Pho Mai is at 925 Wood Ave in Bridgeport CT.
I like the place. Haven't been in a while when I ate there last there was a team of women in the kitchen cooking up a storm. The woman who runs the place is very nice. People at the other table order banh mi, and were raving about them. I never order banh mi as I make better ones at home. I like the food, the fried springrolls were fine. A stir fry of seafood with rice noodles was good, lots of very nice shrimp and squid in a bland sauce. The pho is ok. It is a huge bowl of noodles in a sweet, light broth and again, the large shrimp served with it were great. There are 2 types of fish cakes in the pho, tasty but I never was a fish cake fan. I go there once in a while, when I don't mind making the trek from Milford. Tho it is not great by any means, I am glad it is there. I wish there was a great Vietnamese place in the area, but none that I know about. I have co authored a Vietnamese cookbook and been over there twice, so I make it at home.
This place is Vietnam Palace, and we went there a couple of days ago. The spring rolls were underwhelming - no lettuce or mint with which to wrap them, and more of a Chinese spring roll wrapper than the bubbly rice-based one I'm accustomed to. The Pho, however, was excellent, in my opinion. Beefy, rich, little beads of fat along the edges of the voluminous bowl, but also redolent of star anise and whatever else makes it slightly sweet and richly savory at the same time. I got the "dac biet," which had an huge tangle of rice noodles plus all the meats - tendon, tripe, brisket and flank - all of which were delicious and clean-tasting. As I hoped, it was served with a pile of mint, basil, sprouts and lime wedges, plus sriracha on the side. I loved it and am eager to return many times as winter settles in CT.
You authored a Vietnamese cook book?! That is AWESOME! Your judgment on banh mi and pho must be trusted. Quick question - where is the best banh mi (besides your kitchen!) that you have had in the area (NY included)?
Also - what is name of your cookbook? Would love to: (i) give it a read, and (ii) potentially do a write-up for you on fcmenutalk.com.
Made the trip to check out the banh mis at Pho Mai. They are def the front-runner in the county (at least that I've found).
Pros: actually put jalapeno on them when asked. Good amount of cilantro.
Cons: not enough meat (which is always the problem! maybe that's why they're so cheap)
The beef far exceeded the pork. Would recommend that option if anyone makes it out. I'm sure you could request double meat...
Additional thoughts and pics here: http://fcmenutalk.com/post/2439868311...