Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pho 79

Pho 79
2529 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

As I sit here at my desk eating my cup o' noodle instant lunch I find myself reminiscing about Pho. No, Pho is nothing like a cup o' noodle, but I imagine if it were I would be a much happier person right now.

Pho is a relatively new discovery for me. I've known for quite a time what it is, but up until now it's just been a passing thought when considering nourishment. Damn, 24 years wasted...Pho-less. I guess I'm just making up for lost time now because I find myself in love, in love with Pho. I wonder if there's a psychological order or support group that deals with this matter and if there is I should probably look into getting help. Or I could continue dropping pocket change on this awesome meal. I choose addition. I usually do.

Pho 79 is the first Pho-centric restaurant I've been to in Minneapolis. With 20 variation to choose from it wasn't a bad start to my affair. I did have Pho at Bahn Thai a few weeks back (see the Bahn Thai review) and it was super good, but was it the best? All things sushi on hold for a moment...Pho is my new food quest. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant was The Saigon off of Grand, but unfortunately it closed. There is also a Saigon restaurant on Lyndale near Uptown and while it is technically the same place it just isn't the same. Alas, no more Saigon lemongrass chicken and vermicelli salad for me.

Pho 79 is located on the always wonderful Eat Street of Minneapolis. Although it may not look as inviting as some of the other joints on the street, I'd say the food and the price are worth it. Just remember if you come in wearing a tux you'll look like an ass, don't do it.

Cha Gio (pork egg rolls) $2.95
I was super happily surprised by these egg rolls both in taste and price. Just like Saigon fried egg rolls. They come either vegetarian or pork. The pork variety is stuffed with thin slivers of carrot, ground pork and black pepper. Were there rice noodles in them? Sister says yes. This is pretty typical stuffing for a Vietnamese restaurant style egg roll. Each order includes 2 and is served with fish sauce for dipping.

Bi Cuon (fresh spring rolls) $3.25
Being the spring roll fanatic that I am these were great for a little over 3 bucks. Filled with the traditional pork, shrimp, lettuce and rice noodles. Not the best I've had, but certainly not the worst. I won't rant here, because I'll do it on a separate posting, but recently I had the worst spring rolls ever at Big Bowl. So, although these guys are simple they can be screwed up, no doubt.

14. Pho Chi'n Nam Ve Don $6.75 (mine)
All Pho here is served in the same tradional beef broth with thin rice noodles. They are accompanied by a plate of fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapenos and lime wedges. Also on the table are Hosin sauce, Sriracha sauce and fish sauce. This particular Pho includes beef brisket, flank and skirt steak. Red meat is awesome, I'm just glad I didn't watch Bourdain in Argentina before I ordered this dish...I would have probably gone vegetarian. Lucky for me I didn't and I was able to enjoy this dish. I'd have to agree though with another fellow blogger that the meat didn't make the dish by any means. You have this very basic canvas and you can create whatever you want depending on what you put in it. While the meat wasn't at all bad, I will continue to explore my Pho options next time. This dish was topped with green onions, white onions and a little cilantro.

16. Pho Ga Dai $6.75 (sister)
Same beef broth, condiments, etc. This Pho however features shredded chicken. It looked awesome, but soon turned bright red as my sister pilled on the chili sauce. Good work. Again, the soup and protein are basic, but chili sauce (or whatever else) makes it awesome, hot and unique. It also makes you sweaty.

30. Mi Tom Cua $6.75 (mum)
A noodle soup (un-Pho because it comes without the fresh sides and is not served in beef broth) containing egg noodles, shrimp, crab claw and imitation crab. Served in a giant bowl. Mum added some chili sauce as well and my Dad chucked a few jalapenos in there too when she wasn't looking.

A. Vietnamese Spicy Chicken $6.95 (the dave)
One of the 'Special combination dishes' which are all served with steamed or fried rice and one of their pork egg rolls. This chicken is stir fried with lemon grass sauce and white and green onions. Dave enjoyed. Again, lots of food for your buck.

K. Chicken Garlic Sauce $6.95 (pops)
Also one of Pho 79's special combination dishes. Spicy dark sauce (oyster sauce?) covers chicken, green and red peppers, brocolli, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. The veg looked fresh and crunchy, the sauce not overly spicy and there was plenty of chicken. Pops says yay and so do I. Not the best pictures in the world...sorry.

# of People: 5 (Mr. B missed out)
Reservations: Didn't need 'em, plenty of space or you can get take out.
Day/Time of Visit: Monday, April 6th @ 6:30pm
Will I be back: Of course! I have 19 more Pho bowls to tackle!
YAYs!: Good variety, good prices, casual, $2.50 Sapporo, friendly and quick service.
Nays: Not great ambiance (but good food trumps ambiance any day if you ask me).
Notes: I usually find it easy to write about a place I really enjoy. This one was easy to write about.


1 comment:

Soofaye said...

Delicious, I would go there today, if I wasn't so tired...