Pho, pronounced “ph-Uh,” is a Vietnamese noodle soup. Numerous Vietnamese and Thai restaurants boast their pho with glowing neon lights littered particularly throughout Lakewood and along South Tacoma Way. With plenty of competition, it took Pho the Best on South Hill a lot to distinguish itself from the rest.
Before considering the quality of their food, Pho the Best needs to be first recognized for its proximity, price and satisfaction. Pho the Best is located 1.8 miles from Pierce College.
Though the restaurant does look like an expensive one, you wouldn’t have a clue if you chose only to purchase a warm, small bowl of pho, because it only costs about $7 per bowl. However, be wary because prices do add up fast.
The sizes offered for a bowl of pho are small and large, but after converting the large Vietnamese portion sizes into an American equivalent, you end up with either a large or an extra large. Now reconsider the perhaps $2 or $3 that made the price questionable a moment ago.
I started my lunch with some spring rolls, which cost about $5, quite expensive but I have no complaints about them. They were so good that I almost forgot that I had just spent $5 for two of them.
For the main course, I decided to pass on the four or five other pages of Thai and Vietnamese dishes, after all, I came for the pho. Pho is simply rice noodles and raw meat that cooks in a hot, aromatic broth. The rice noodles are enjoyable and there are several choices of meat to go along with them: brisket, shrimp, steak, beef and tripe. Tripe is meat made from the stomach or intestine of a cow, but you really wouldn’t know where it came from if you just tried it.
This wide variety of meat offers a much greater selection than just noodle soup.
The broth, if cooked traditionally, can take up to 12 or more hours, so it would be accurate to say that the broth is the most important part of pho. There was a minimal wait for the food but once it had arrived I was greeted with side dishes of beans sprouts, jalapeños and cut limes. A bowl of Pho is made better with a handful of these ingredients. The first impression of the soups taste was a warm, natural smell that promised my taste a similar experience. It did not disappoint.
The pleasant meal complimented the quiet, trendy atmosphere of the restaurant and the service provided was just as I would expect of a restaurant’s waiters, not exceeding or failing my expectations.
They often refilled my drink and once it appeared I was finished, lightly sat the check on the table in a way that didn’t rush me out but offered the option to promptly leave if I was ready to go.
The check for two people with two small bowls of Pho with spring rolls ran up to about $20, a price that was much easier to pay on a full stomach.
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