(Sara’s back again!) Anyone who knows me, at least a little bit, will have heard me say that I truly believe I see a trend in Tally towards supporting more local restaurants and more diverse food ideas. One of these ideas to this point has not been pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup that took the rest of the country by storm years ago. I have seen numerous conversations on twitter about where to even *get* pho in Tally, never mind where it is good (Far East Cuisine is typically the option).
Enter a new restaurant, Pho 7. Someone else must have noticed the total lack of the easily loved soup (hot or cold weather, I swear! Think, ‘nam is not what I would call “chilly” ever!). Pho 7 has only recently opened. Their facebook page started in February this year, so maybe sometime around then? Anyways, I was excited to hear that it was opening, and finally got a chance to try it yesterday.
I’m fairly safe when it comes to Pho. I like the beef broth with rare thinly sliced beef. I have tried the options with tripe, etc., but I do not get along well with tripe in general. So I ordered the pho bowl option with sliced beef (P3 on the menu). With fresh shrimp and pork spring rolls to start. FYI: there were lots of pho and other options.
The spring rolls were not bad, but pretty unremarkable. I typically like them with some cilantro or something leafy inside for flavour, but there wasn’t anything. The peanut sauce was also unremarkable. I also thought at $4.50 for 2, the rolls were a little overpriced.
Oh well, we were at Pho 7 for pho anyways. I’ll admit it though, I was a little concerned about the pho when I saw the “extra” plate that came to our table. For anyone who has never had pho before, it’s sort of like a buffet at your table with the bowl. You typically get a plate that is overflowing with fresh limes, jalapenos, cilantro, basil, and bean sprouts. You tear, squeeze and add to your heart’s content, along with hoisen sauce and sriracha.
Now, I love me some fresh cilantro and basil, but I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking the plate we were given was not nearly enough for 4 people eating pho. This is what made me concerned. 3 limes?! Really. I love sharing, but really I want my own lime slice. I asked for another plate, and it came no problem. Problem solved!
Okay, pho time! The initial look was pretty good. It seemed to look like what I was used to. The first taste was pretty good too. But alas, I seemed to have gotten all the spice that was present in the broth all in one bite. Pho should seem simple enough at the surface, but good pho is very complex in flavour. Rich as all get out in depth of broth (bones should be simmering for hours, nay days here folks!). And should have a very spicy undertone, similar to the Chinese 5 spice flavour profile.
Unfortunately, Pho 7 tries hard, but does not put the love into the broth that is needed. It takes mostly tastes like beef flavoured water. Hardly any spice, and not enough meat flavour.
I took home half the bowl for Abe, because I know he lives for pho. I put it in the fridge and didn’t give my opinion. He found it later that night (he’s very resourceful that way), and the next day after seeing the remnants of pho I asked his opinion. He commented the same way. No real flavour.
Pho 7 was packed on a Wednesday at lunch. This tells me people really WANT pho. This is the only pho available near campus, and practically in town. It’s not bad, but not the quality I have had before.
Now, just for you guys, I will tell you where there is pretty good pho in this city. Unfortunately, it’s very limited and hard to come by. The mom/grandmom at Tasty Eats Beer Garden in railroad square (super random location, fyi) makes it every Friday. Well, mostly every Friday. I would call to confirm. And when it’s gone, it’s gone (and it’s usually gone by 6pm). And it’s good! She makes it right, brewing the stock all day. And that’s why it’s only once a week…it takes up the whole kitchen and is a pain in the butt! Check it out! And if you are in a pinch, Pho 7 will work for you. But will leave you wanting something more.