The BFF and I have both been watching what we eat lately, but we also like to have lunch together, so when we saw that Pho Tasty had taken over the space that was previously also a Vietnamese place we had tried together before, we thought, hey, we can eat pho and be fairly healthy right? And since neither of us had been particularly wowed by the previous incarnation as “V Café Ok”, we were hoping for an improvement.
They’ve remodeled the inside a bit—I recall it having a bit of a weird vibe before—there was even a little stage in the corner. Now it feels more like a casual/quick serve restaurant. It’s pretty basic, but clean, and the staff is pretty friendly. Ordering and getting the food was pretty quick, although it took awhile to get the check.
Anyhow, even though I really wanted to try the Vietnamese pancake ($9.50)—one of my favorite things in the world when they’re done well, I was good and just got the pho (don’t worry, I will get it one of these days and report back. Also, if you’ve had it here, let me know!). I had the rare beef version ($9) and she had the veggie version ($9) with tofu. If you’re not familiar, pho is a Vietnamese soup filled with rice noodles and then with some sort of meat or protein added. Different places include varying levels of veggies as well, and then you are served a plate with fresh herbs (usually basil and/or cilantro), fresh bean sprouts, lime wedges and jalapenos. You add them to taste, as well as any of the many, many sauces and spice mixed that are lined up on the table.
Overall, it was a good version of a pho. I have come to realize two things about pho. One, the broth is the thing, and two; you can’t judge it until you spice it up with all the things. For me this means, several pieces of the jalapeno in the broth, a bunch of the basil and lots of the limes squeezed in (I asked for extra). Also a bit of the chili garlic sauce and sometimes even a little soy sauce. And once you let it sit a bit, it just gets better and better. And spicier and spicier. There were also nice thinly sliced onions and chopped green onions and the beef was very thin. It never stays rare in that hot broth, but it was nice and tender. My BFF liked her veggie bowl as well, and it did have a lot more veggies in there that looked appealing—particularly the cabbage. I love cabbage in soup.
Anyhow, it was a nice bowl of pho for sure. I can’t say it was the best I’ve ever had, but it was solid. The broth was good and it hit the spot on a blustery fall day. I’ll go back (it’s a decent non-chain quick place in Castleton for goodness sakes!). It’s definitely better than the last place. And next time I’m trying the pancake.
6044 East 82nd Street