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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pho Bay

A new Vietnamese restaurant opened in Plano about 2 weeks ago. I heard about it from some friends on Facebook. They are half Vietnamese and were raving about the pho. They said it tastes like how their dad makes it.

I love pho, but I'm definitely not an expert at it and I don't know what's authentic or not. However, I do know that most of the pho places in Dallas are not bad, some are not good and usually pretty dirty. So when someone says it's authentic, I wanted to try it. Last week we had the freak cold front where it was 70s on Monday then Tuesday was in the 40s. Great time for some hot noodle soup though!

Pho Bay
3933 N. Central Expy, #100
Plano, TX 75023
(972) 422-5152
Price: $

My friends and I decided to go check it out last Wednesday. It was sooooo cold, and the winds were insane that night. Brrrr. Pho Bay is located in front of Main Event on 75 and Spring Creek. Personally, I don't think that's a good location for business but I hope they can persevere. It's a small place, but everything was clean and bright. And hopefully it stays that way!

The waiter, which I assumed was also the owner, was super friendly and very enthusiastic. You can tell he's very proud of his food. He told us that the (grand opening) special for that day was free egg roll for everyone, so he went ahead and brought out a plate of it for the 7 of us. 
A normal order of Egg Rolls (2) is $2.50~ just FYI.
Vietnamese egg rolls are the only ones I like to eat. The Chinese versions are usually vegetarian and I don't care for that. The egg rolls here was ok. It was fried well and wasn't too greasy. I also liked the plate of veggies it came with to wrap the egg rolls. But I felt like it needed more flavor. The fish sauce helped with that.

2 of my friends also ordered a Thai Iced Tea $2.75~ which the owner recommended. It looked so pretty. hehe. And it was very good! We all thought so. Even me and another friend that don't really like Thai tea. He said they make it from scratch, so none of that powder stuff. It wasn't too sweet either, which is good.

So my friends who told me about the restaurant says the owner said their Bun Bo Hue is really good. I've never actually had Bun Bo Hue, but it sounded amazing. Spicy broth with different kinds of meat. The rice noodles are thicker than pho noodles. And it's flavored with lemongrass and a bunch of other spices. 4 of us ordered the Spicy Hue Noodle Soup (Bun Bo Hue) $7.95~ Served with a side of bean sprouts, jalapeno, basil, cilantro, lime. 
I have been craving this for awhile and it totally hit the spot. The noodles were cooked well, it had really nice texture. There were different types of meat in there: beef, what looked to be meat around pig's feet, and pork cakes. I liked them all. All the veggies and herbs on the side were really fresh. I piled those in my bowl. Here's where the verdict splits... out of the 4 of us, 2 were Vietnamese and have had authentic home cooking, my other friend is Chinese but has had a lot of Vietnamese food. And me, who's never had this dish before. haha. So me and another Vietnamese friend liked this. I REALLY liked it, I couldn't stop eating. But my other 2 friends said it was ok. There was a slight sweetness to the broth which was throwing them off. Apparently that's not how it's supposed to taste. But you know me, I love sweet/savory so it didn't bother me. And it wasn't like it was loaded with sugar, it was just a hint. I actually thought the sweetness helped balance the dish so it wasn't too salty or heavy or spicy. It was also not too greasy. I ate EVERYTHING, and although I was super full, I didn't feel disgusting with loads of sodium or grease. I thought that was great. So I will definitely have this again. I can't say the same for my friends...

2 other friends got the Pho a la carte $5.50~ Add meatball +$1.50~ Add brisket +$1~ 
It basically starts as the basic broth and noodles and you can add in what types of meat you want. I only tried a sip of the broth and I thought it was really good. My Vietnamese friends thought it was good too. But I think as they ate more, there was also some sweetness so one friend didn't like it at all. I will still go back and try their pho though, since I didn't mind the sweetness.

And lastly, one friend got the Pho Bay Ultimate Rice Plate $9.95~ It was nicely presented and looked really good. He said it was ok... a standard rice plate, nothing special.

So I guess the opinions were across the board. From one person not liking it at all to me, who really enjoyed it. To each its own. But I do appreciate the energy from the owner and the cleanliness of the space (so far... since it's still so new. haha). I'll take my fiance there some time. I think he would really like it. Now I'm on a Bun Bo Hue kick, I want to try it at other Vietnamese places. My friends said their favorite is still at Pho Tay Do... so that's definitely on my list!

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