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Had it today for the first time. 12 bucks down the drain. Mine had round steak and meatballs with the noodles. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I just didn't like the texture of the meatballs. Maybe I got hooked up with some bad Pho. I don't know. I do know I will try it again at the #1 place as voted by other Clevelanders. I tried a new place managed by my Fraternity Brother (though I didn't know that beforehand). He suggested we try the roasted quail app. No good way to eat that bird though the sauce was decent.

The Pho had some mighty funky taste with all the spices and ginger and whatnot.

Did I try the wrong kind?

Edited by loaf

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I'm gonna say yes because quail is supposed to be slit in half and deep fried.

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My wife and I are hooked on pho, we usually just get steak or brisket though. I've heard that their meatballs have bits of tendon in them and I'm not into the tripe or other weird stuff they serve. Add the sprouts and basil they give you, freakin delicious. Maybe it's just not your thing but I'd try the other place before giving up.

 

Vietnamese spring rolls and egg rolls are delicious too.

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First off Vietnamese meat balls are certainly an acquired taste. They blend, rather than grind the meat typically which can make them sort of rubbery.

 

Secondly, I think putting a quail on top of pho seems silly.

 

Obviously I can't be sure if you got a crappy bowl or just don't like it. I will say this. However, as much as I love the dish, Ive had more "meh" bowls of it than I'd like to remember. I think it's because it is so subtle, so any screw ups really show through.

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I've had Pho before and maybe it is all the rave reviews I've seen, but I was just Meh on it. Wouldn't go out of my way to eat it again, but would try it if we ever had the opportunity again, so probably never eat it...

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oops...

the quail was an appetizer and it was split and deep fried...it wasn't served in the Pho.

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Perhaps a bit of a Pho primer is in order:

 

First off, the classic pho should be a very light and clear broth made from beef bones and/or chunks of beef. Before you get into combos of what you can get in it, you're typically looking at some proprietary mixture of herbs and perhaps some white onion cooked into it. At the bottom of the bowl, is some rice noodles. From there, you're picking what chunks of meat you want in it. The basic is raw, thinly-sliced eye of round (poor-man's filet) that essentially poaches itself done in the hot broth, adding on to that can be some well-done brisket (which is often a by-product of making the stock, tendon, meat balls, tripe, etc.

 

Then there's the garnish: There's usually a bottle of fish sauce, sriracha, and hoisin on the table along with a plate of mung beans, basil, other fresh herbs, lime, and sliced jalapeno. This is what you doctor up your bowl with. Again the broth itself should be very mild and light. Additionally, many like to take a ramekin and mix some hoisin and sriracha together to make a dipping sauce for the chunks of meat.

 

When pho has gone wrong for me it has nearly always been that the broth was murky. When it's gone terribly wrong, it seemed like used dishwater. At this point, there's essentially nothing you can do to save it. Second only to sushi bars, I pretty much look for a pho shop to be very clean. Unlike so many chinese soups or ramen or even classic thai soups with coconut, there's just nowhere for a mediocre broth to hide. It's all about purity.

 

A dish that is often made at pho shops that isn't technically pho, may be worth seeking out. It's a dark, reddish-brown broth with braised beef (often cheek or short rib) with chunks of carrot. It can be served with noodles or french bread. This is a whole 'nother animal as it is rich and sweet from the braise. Keep in mind, this does often contain tripe, but because the dish is so rich, the tripe doesn't dominate the way it can in the light, delicate pho. A corrallary comes to mind here with menudo. I effing hate menudo when it's not super rich with plenty of chiles and rich, red broth. When it's more blonde, I find it nasty because all you can taste is the tripe. Same goes for me with pho.

 

And, like Matt says, if you go to a pho shop, you need to split an order of cha gio. The pork and shrimp spring rolls that are served with a plate of lettuce, pickles, and herb garnish. You roll the fried delights in the fresh garnish and it may be the single most delicious dish in creation.

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Here's where we were

 

Looks too fancy. They're hiring bartenders? That's not a real pho place.

 

Find one in a strip mall near a Burlington Coat Factory or a Big Lots. The staff should be fresh off the boat and barely speak English, and there should be a good number of Asians customers. The tables will be numbered and they won't serve alcohol, but you can bring your own. The service will be way too fast, you'll get your appetizers within 4-5 minutes of ordering and your pho a few minutes after that.

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Also, if you do bring a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer, they will promptly deliver a tumbler filled with ice for your beverage enjoyment.

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.....

 

A dish that is often made at pho shops that isn't technically pho, may be worth seeking out. It's a dark, reddish-brown broth with braised beef (often cheek or short rib) with chunks of carrot. It can be served with noodles or french bread. This is a whole 'nother animal as it is rich and sweet from the braise. Keep in mind, this does often contain tripe, but because the dish is so rich, the tripe doesn't dominate the way it can in the light, delicate pho. A corrallary comes to mind here with menudo. I effing hate menudo when it's not super rich with plenty of chiles and rich, red broth. When it's more blonde, I find it nasty because all you can taste is the tripe. Same goes for me with pho.

 

And, like Matt says, if you go to a pho shop, you need to split an order of cha gio. The pork and shrimp spring rolls that are served with a plate of lettuce, pickles, and herb garnish. You roll the fried delights in the fresh garnish and it may be the single most delicious dish in creation.

 

 

I did not know that a blonde Menudo tastes like tripe....

 

NTTIAWWT :unsure:

 

I'm glad I googled that :lol:

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Also, in Vietnam, a "quail" can be any of 50 different birds, from ravens to mockingbirds. Usually in restaurants their quails are pigeons.

 

Never under any circumstances order "pork".

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Looks too fancy. They're hiring bartenders? That's not a real pho place.

 

Find one in a strip mall near a Burlington Coat Factory or a Big Lots. The staff should be fresh off the boat and barely speak English, and there should be a good number of Asians customers. The tables will be numbered and they won't serve alcohol, but you can bring your own. The service will be way too fast, you'll get your appetizers within 4-5 minutes of ordering and your pho a few minutes after that.

 

Truth

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We have a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant here that makes great Pho. It's funny though that I've only recently began to enjoy Vietnamese food since we have such a large popuation here and I basically grew up among the highest concentration of them.

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