Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pho Bac Hoa Viet

Pho Bac Hoa Viet on Urbanspoon

Pho Bac Hoa Viet - pho w/ steak, flank, and tendon

I only learned about six months ago that Pho is pronounced as Fuh. Don't ask me how to pronounce the rest of the name. But that's not what is important when you judge a restaurant. It's the food that matters. 

Located in Rancho Cordova just off the freeway at the Bradshaw exit, Pho Bac Hoa Viet restaurant is large. On a Sunday night it was pretty busy with patrons with big bowls in front of them. We took a seat at a booth and perused the lengthy menu. There are plenty of versions of pho, or soups, but there is also a large amount of both Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. 


Pho Bac Hoa Viet - shrimp spring rolls and strawberry lemonade

I started with a request for strawberry lemonade and was thrilled to receive an excellent one. This wasn't just a lemonade filled with a strawberry syrup. This was real strawberry puree so that there were bits of strawberry that sank to the bottom. 

I also asked to try the shrimp spring rolls. The menu says two, but they are two cut in half so that you actually have four large rolls to dip into the peanut sauce. These rolls were big and filled with lettuce and rice sticks. I was just a bit disappointed that the shrimp were little and sliced in half. I like my protein and would have liked whole pieces.

I was here for the signature item, though, and went with a pho with rare steak, flank, and tendon. I just couldn't do tripe since I've never experience tripe that I like. The server asked me if I wanted the small or large size. I opted for the small and am I glad I did. The bowl that arrived was large in my book and was filled with ingredients. A noodle soup should have noodles and this one did. There was an abundance of them, tender and chewy, long and thick. There were plenty of the meats and veggies as well. I found the broth a bit on the bland side so I spiced it up with a bunch of pepper oil. There was also a side plate of more things to add to the soup - mushrooms, sprouts, and herbs. 


I couldn't finish my small and wondered about a large. But if you are into food challenges, they recently had one to eat a giant bowl in an hour. It was 2 lbs of noodles and 2 lbs of meat and if you ate it it was free and you got your picture on their wall of fame. There are plenty of pictures up there, but only a handful that are in the successful section. 


There is a second location of this restaurant in Folsom at 602 E. Bidwell Street.
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