‘Pho Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant’ Tasty and Economically-Sound

l_23c5d893e24e17ec124598429259bd12The commercially busy streets of Brooklyn’s Avenue U are practically littered with quaint Asian specialty stores and tantalizing cuisine from the Orient. Seemingly unassuming, with its bamboo-themed doors and plain white awning, at 1906 Avenue U, stands “Pho Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant.”  Simple it may be, but its proud productions are hardly unremarkable.

Its interior is a perfect match to its external image – small, stern tables align along the restaurant’s sides, with several lingering in the middle as cultural pieces adorn its walls. A forest-green cloth covers its tables, adding a touch of elegance to the small eating establishment in hectic Sheepshead Bay.

Although seemingly characterized by plainness, its cuisine boasts such a surprising cornucopia of flavor that this oft-overlooked eatery can easily be one of Brooklyn’s best-kept secrets.

While its signature dishes – the pho – a type of Vietnamese beef soup, are certainly delicious, with their surprisingly rich broths and flavorful meat side-dishes, the real treasures of this restaurant lie in its vermicelli selection.

Composed of a series of meat dishes to compliment these large, dry rice noodles, the best of the bunch are certainly the beef and pork – Bun Cha Gio Bo Lui and Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong, respectively.

The pork is at once succulent and chewy – perfectly glazed and topped with peanuts. The beef is tender and thoroughly robust – a perfect complement to the instantly crave-able spring rolls joining the mix. With a distinctly thin, fried outer shell, these meaty morsels complete an incredible dish consisting of delectable meat, crunchy vegetables and yummy rice noodles.

Vermicelli too dry? No problem.

The dishes also come with an optional carrot vinegar sauce on the side to satisfy your moisture needs – and the satisfaction is certainly abundant.

For those not entirely at awe at the larger vermicelli, the “House Special Dishes” or “Cac Mon An Dac Biet” section on the menu supplies the option of smaller and thinner versions of the carbohydrate.

But the best part of this well-hidden haven is the cost. With an average meal running between $5.50 and $8.50 – and the highest on the menu costing $17.95 – the take-out prices alone are worth a try in these harsh economic times. The delicious flavor is simply a perk – an incredibly large, surprising perk.

With a vast array of options, considerable specialty drinks and scrumptious desserts – the best of which is Banh Flang, a flan-like sweet egg custard – “Pho Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant” seems to be the perfect munchie oasis.

Almost.

The service at this establishment leaves something to be desired. Members of larger dining groups are often forced to wait for as much as half an hour for their order and waiters are quick to hand visiting parties a check – often before all members finish their respective meals.

In spite of this, “Pho Hoai Vietnamese Restaurant” is an absolute must. Occasionally capricious service is hardly comparable to the sheer price-to-product ratio that this place delivers.

enablingSure, the service at the place is forgettable, but it does get better the more you go there. The same thing goes for the menu, which can be a bit scary to some at first. In time though, it eventually becomes comfortable, as a cornucopia of options for safe eaters, such as the mucho-excellente spring rolls and the multitude of tasty steak, chicken and pork dishes reveal themselves for your taste buds to enjoy.

However, the best reason to go there is the price. For less than 10 bucks, you can have a solid dinner and leave feeling satisfied. What more can you ask for?

-Patrick Hickey Jr.

About Olga Privman 132 Articles
I spent a good decade dabbling in creating metaphysically-inclined narrative fiction and a mercifully short stream of lackluster poetry. A seasoned connoisseur of college majors, I discovered journalism only recently through a mock review for my mock editor, though my respect for the field is hardly laughable. I eventually plan to teach philosophy at a university and write in my free time while traveling the world, scaling mountains and finding other, more creative ways to stimulate adrenaline. Travel journalism, incidentally, would be a dream profession. Potential employers? Feel free to ruthlessly steal me away from the site. I’ll put that overexposed Miss Brown to shame.

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