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Soup’s on



Nestled on the south side of the Super Cao Nguyen building, Mr. Pho is an
unassuming cafe packed with friendly service and an abundant Vietnamese
and Chinese menu.

When you’re in, start with an appetizer or two. The shrimp roll ($2.95 for two) is full of fresh vermicelli, lettuce, sprouts and mint leaf, neatly packed in rice paper and served with a delicious peanut sauce — and not just a peanut sauce … one of the most delicious peanut sauces you’ll ever try.

The rolls are a surprisingly hearty start to a broth or noodle-based meal. The shrimp is incredibly fresh and plump, packed with a clean and semisweet taste. It’s almost coastal good.

If you want a little something to warm you up, try the hot-and-sour soup ($1.75), which comes with crisps to contrast textures. It’s thicker than most hot-and-sours and boasts a meaty flavor from the mushrooms
floating around in the chicken broth base. It’s not a huge portion, but
for the price and abundant menu options, you don’t want to fill up on
appetizers before the main event.

The dish that will keep me coming back is the bun tom nuong ($6.95). This is one of the most traditional Vietnamese dishes — a vermicelli bowl — and packed with flavor and pretty healthy for you.

The perfectly seasoned and grilled shrimp rests on a bed of vermicelli (a noodle that resembles a thick spaghetti noodle), and is garnished with freshly chopped green onions, julienne-sliced carrots and cucumber, finely chopped peanuts and just a sprig of parsley. Once again: the shrimp! I don’t know where Mr. Pho gets them, but I don’t care; they are tender, juicy and flavorful.

The dish comes with a large ramekin of a house-made special sauce to be poured over the meal. It’s a Sriracha-, vinegar- and fish saucebased blend that brings together all the dish’s flavors in something that won’t let your taste buds down.

If you’re at Mr. Pho, it’s assumed you like pho. If you are on the fence about pho, you should try theirs. If you do like pho, welcome home.

tái chín ($5.50 for small) pho bowl contains slices of rare steak and
brisket and is the perfect treat on a rainy day. The rich broth packs a
punch all on its own. When it’s combined with the fresh green onions,
noodles, as well as the boat of jalapeños, sprouts and lime, the
seemingly normal bowl of pho transforms into a contender for one of the
city’s best.

The small bowl is plenty if you’re at lunch or a light eater.
However, if you’ve saved all your eating power in a day for this one
meal, you’ve the option of a large for $5.95 or extra large for $6.95.

With the rather expansive
menu of lo meins to noodle soups, there’s a little something for
everyone. You can get a vegetarian-friendly tofu with vegetables in a
brown sauce ($8.95) to a combination stir-fried egg noodles ($9.25) that
come with shrimp, barbecue pork, chicken and mixed vegetables.

spot is busy, but you’d never feel it in the service. A smile always
greets you, your drinks stay full, and your food is served fast. They
take care of you at Mr. Pho.

Don’t forget to grab your fortune cookie on the way out the door!

Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.

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