Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Price of Pho(od)

Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup, is a pretty popular dish around my neighborhood due the diverse population. My boyfriend and I stick to two places, Pho Clement II and Pho Garden, with the latter being the trendier and more expensive of the two. In this post I provide some ratings on the two places. It wouldn't be fare to compare two different dishes, so here I compare both shop's offering of the type of pho with everything. I like to just call it the number one, because usually the first item on the menu includes the style of pho that I like: rare steak, flank, brisket, tendon, beef balls, tripe, etc...

Your typical x-large order of everything (flank, rare steak, tripe, tendon, etc), called the Pho Garden or Xe Lua

Place: Pho Garden
Dish: the "#1", called Xe Lua here
Broth: translucent and fragrant
Meat to noodle ration: slightly lower than Pho Clement II
Quality of sides: High -- Thai basil is fresh, bean sprouts are crisp, limes are juicy
Atmosphere: 5 stars due to their eating contest called the Pho Challenge, the place is always packed and festive feeling full of families sitting at huge tables, it is painted bright green and it smells awesome
Aesthetic Rating: 5 stars, you gotta love their beautiful bowls
Price: 8.50 USD

The x-large at Pho Clement II is packed full of meat, but I feel their broth lacks the pearly translucence that makes Pho Garden's so appetizing

Place: Pho Clement II
Dish: the "#1", known as phở đặc biệt
Broth: foggy
Meat to noodle ration: tons of meat, sometimes I can't even finish the noodles
Quality of sides: Medium -- Thai basil is occasionally brown at edges, bean sprouts are crisp, limes are often lemons
Atmosphere: 3 stars, the place is often empty, the fluorescent lights are jarring, sometimes it smells a little off, the Russians love this place though, and sometimes Jackie Chan is on the TV
Aesthetic Rating: 2 stars, bowls are just white
Price: 7.50 USD

So with these ratings, you would think Adam and I would stick to Pho Garden, considering that for 1 USD more, we get higher quality. The problem with Pho Garden is that it is packed all the time, and sometimes the wait can be longer than an hour. These long waits stem from families coming in hoping that their best nephew can complete the Pho Challenge, or, eat an enormous 20 dollar bowl of Pho in under one hour and thus get the bowl of Pho for free. When we see tons of kids waiting outside, we assume the worst and run, fast, to Pho Clement II.

1 comment:

  1. This post makes me very hungry for Pho, I'm jealous you have two great options at a reasonable price closeby!