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Pho Bang Downhill?

demigodh Jun 5, 2013 08:57 AM

I've gone to Pho Bang in Garland dozens of times. The last two times I went the broth had a bitter, overly peppery flavor. Does anyone know if they've had an ownership/chef change? Has anyone noticed a similar decline in quality? Since I've enjoyed it for so long I'm assuming my experiences were anomalies but twice in a row justifies polling the community.

  1. n
    neilmcginnis Aug 14, 2013 02:14 PM

    I ate at Pho Bang only once, a couple months ago and I loved the pho but it was my first experience with Pho. I will say however that I found the pho ever so slightly boring since the flavors were subtle.. Is this usual or am I doing something wrong? lol
    I put all the ingredients in they gave me and it was a good soup but no flavors that I would write home about.. It felt like everyday food although it was beautiful for soup. I guess i like flavors that slap you in the face, not rub you on the back : )
    I feel like i'm missing the whole PHO thing so please set me straight. I drove an hour to get to this restaurant, FYI, so that affects my opinion as well.

    5 Replies
    1. re: neilmcginnis
      demigodh Aug 14, 2013 02:28 PM

      It's supposed to be subtle so, like you said, that may not be up your alley. Hopefully you added some of the herb and squeezed lime into it. Some people give it more of a "slap your face" effect by adding hoisin and sriracha directly into the soup. Personally, I think that kills the benefits of the subtle flavor of pho but it can be delicious like that in its own right.

      Considering the stronger flavor profile you're looking for, I would suggest trying Taiwanese style beef noodle soup. King Noodle is my favorite for this. It's like pho in that it is a beef noodle soup but with a much stronger flavor profile and large chunks of stewed beef.

      1. re: demigodh
        neilmcginnis Aug 14, 2013 02:35 PM

        Yea i added sriracha and I do agree that it made it worse even though i love sriracha..
        I thought the subtle flavors were better by itself.
        mmmm... yea that sounds good. I will do that next time.
        I would love to have the Pho as an everyday soup but I guess I was looking for something that stood out more especially since so many people are so serious about their Pho, like you guys : )

        1. re: demigodh
          neilmcginnis Aug 14, 2013 02:43 PM

          I think I was expecting a Thai coconut curry flavor or something extreme like that (i love that flavor combo)

          1. re: neilmcginnis
            air Aug 14, 2013 02:47 PM

            Try out some bun bo hue if you want a Vietnamese dish more in your face. Always enjoy getting it from Pho Tau Bay in Richardson. You can probably find places in Arlington/Grand Prairie as well if those are closer to you.

            1. re: air
              neilmcginnis Aug 14, 2013 02:52 PM

              Thanks. Will try

      2. j
        Jon G Jun 12, 2013 07:51 PM

        Give La Xanh a chance. It is in the same plaza, a few stores down from Pho Bang, closer to Walnut.


        1. g
          gavlist Jun 7, 2013 01:11 PM

          I haven't been in a while, but I spoke with a Vietnamese friend who eats there regularly (it's her favorite in the area) and she said they have good days and bad days... but that they're still generally good.

          1. amokscience Jun 7, 2013 07:41 AM

            I'd speak to someone and hope they fix things.

            A while back I noticed a place using parsley instead of cilantro. I mentioned it every visit until it was corrected.

            1. Webra1 Jun 6, 2013 12:16 PM

              I haven't been to Pho Bang in a long time so I can't comment on your question, but if you haven't tried La Me, give it a shot. It's been our favorite Vietnamese spot for years.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Webra1
                demigodh Jun 6, 2013 02:49 PM

                Love La Me but i've never been crazy about their pho. Pretty much everything else there is amazing though (and big points for using real crab!)

                1. re: demigodh
                  foiegras Aug 19, 2013 08:33 PM

                  What is it with the fake crab??? Blu Ginger (Thai) in Irving uses it, listed on the menu as 'crab,' no warning. My tolerance for that is low (I sent it back). Just tell me it's krab and I will order anything. else.

                  1. re: foiegras
                    demigodh Aug 20, 2013 07:21 AM

                    Sad state of affairs that my expectation is fake crab and am pleasantly surprised/shocked to see real crab. That said, I do like fake crab, a lot.

              2. twinwillow Jun 5, 2013 09:32 AM

                Try the newly opened Rice and Wheat on Maple. It's one block north of Maple & Motor. They serve the very best beef Pho I've had in Dallas!

                10 Replies
                1. re: twinwillow
                  LewisvilleHounder Jun 5, 2013 10:19 AM

                  The best beef pho in Dallas is a big claim......of course there is not that many Vietnamese restaurants in the Dalals city limits.

                  As for Pho Bang I haven't been in probably two years or more. There is just so much I pass from Lewisville to go there for a bowl of pho.

                  I have been hitting up Senmiya in Plano on Coit and Park about once a week for the past three weeks.

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                    demigodh Jun 5, 2013 11:32 AM

                    I went to Senmiya a couple days ago for lunch. I was initially deterred by the ambiance and pan Asian menu but all the food I had was great. Specifically, the clay pot rice and the basil chicken (actually 3 cup chicken for fans of Taiwanese food) were delicious.

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                      air Jun 5, 2013 02:46 PM

                      PIFL is still the only place worth going to within city limits. Otherwise, apart from the above post, I've never heard anything good about the pho at that place off Maple. And Dalat? No way.

                      1. re: air
                        twinwillow Jun 5, 2013 04:04 PM

                        I have to agree, DaLat's Pho is weak on depth of favor. However, before you pass judgement on Rice and Wheat's Pho merely based on hearsay, I would recommend you try it first hand and then express a factual objective opinion.

                        1. re: twinwillow
                          air Jun 6, 2013 12:20 PM

                          I guess. In this case, I'm not too motivated to try since the info comes from people who have similar preference as me. Would just prefer not to go out of my way on a dice roll, then end up unhappy is the point I'm making.

                        2. re: air
                          Webra1 Jun 6, 2013 12:08 PM

                          We tried Rice and Wheat last week. Just got the sushi, so I can't report on the pho. The staff is extremely friendly, so I wish the sushi was better. Not awful, but there are better places to go for the same cost. I'm more into Hu Tieu than pho, so if I went back, I'd probably try the Thai food.

                          The one time we went to DaLat, its was a bad experience. It took close to an hour for the food to arrive in a mostly empty restaurant on a Sat afternoon. Our waiter was non-existent. It took so long to get a menu, we just looked it up on our phones. The fish sauce for my vermicelli noodles had almost no fish sauce in it. My husband's soup arrived lukewarm. The table next to us was an asian couple from Houston who were told to try this place. We felt so bad for them. They took about three bites of soup, got up and left. This was after waiting almost an hour.

                          1. re: Webra1
                            twinwillow Jun 6, 2013 04:04 PM

                            I've been to Rice & Wheat only for their Pho. Which I've found to be the best this side of Garland.
                            And, a much shorter distance to travel.

                            I doubt if I'd eat sushi or Thai food there as I have my own personal favorites for those cuisines.

                            1. re: twinwillow
                              twinwillow Jun 9, 2013 12:24 PM



                      2. re: twinwillow
                        twinwillow Jun 11, 2013 01:35 PM

                        We visited Rice & Wheat again today and much to our surprise, there appeared to be a 160 degree turn around in the food. And I mean for the worse! The Pho was completely different from our first visit. The broth was salty, the beef was tough and chewy and worse than anything, the wonderful large, home made beef meatballs we enjoyed on our first visit were no different from any other "average" Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas. Probably, pre-frozen. Sorry, but I won't go back there again. Funny, too because most of the (much fewer) customers eating there today happened to be Asian.

                        1. re: twinwillow
                          twinwillow Jun 11, 2013 10:59 PM

                          Sorry, my bad. I meant "180 degree turn"

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