Pho Bosa Vietnamese Kitchen
Nem Nuong Cuon – Pork Sausage, Cucumbers, Herbs, Crunchy Wonton Stick, Rice Paper, Peanut Sauce
Thit Nuong – BBQ Pork, Pickled Carrots, Daikon Radish, Cilantro, Cucumber, Jalapeno Peppers, Garlic Mayo, Scallions, French Roll
Pho Ga – Rice Noodle Soup, Chicken Breast Strip
Pho Duoi Bo – Smoked Oxtail, Black Pepper, Beef Broth
Bun Rieu – Vermicelli Noodles, Shrimp, Crab Meat, Tofu, Diced Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Green Onions, Cilantro, Crispy Shallots
Although the Global popularity of Noodles in thin Broth suggests mass appeal the allure seems lost on many Midwesterners, a childhood of creamy concoctions such as Cream of Potato and various Chowders plus a general distaste for Lemongrass typically steering palates away from Vietnamese Food as a whole, though on Saturday evening these biases were set aside temporarily to taste Pho Bosa.
Located at 3711 South Valley View Boulevard on the corner of Twain, a low-slung room at the far end of a Strip-mall giving the space a decidedly informal feel, it was entering with three others including two regulars that staff smiled in recognition, a four-top in the main room quickly set and menus presented while the smell of Cilantro and Onions emanated from the Kitchen.
Oddly decorated in advertising for holistic medicine and stress relief, a second room near the toilets dark and unoccupied save for a woman who appeared to be doing bookkeeping on her laptop, it was after washing hands that decisions were made including three Soups, an Appetizer and Sandwich, the low total of $52 including tax and tip explaining a lot about why so many find Pho Bosa appealing.
Additionally offering Grilled Cheese, Paninis and Boba, the later described as “super sweet” by someone familiar, it was as others readied Condiments both liquid and solid that bowls and plates were delivered, first bites of sliced Spring Rolls finding the textures pleasant though taste lacked without housemade Peanut Sauce while a Thit Nuong Bahn Mi Sandwich lacked Pate in favor of BBQ Pork that tasted like the inside of Char Siu Bao with Mayonnaise added to offset partially dried Bread.
Edible but not wowing to this point, three gigantic bowls still waiting and placed in smaller tasting vessels before other diners added Bean Sprouts, Hoisin or Hot Sauce, suffice it to say that Pho Ga with steaming Chicken Stock had nothing on Chicken Noodle Soup from Western Cultures in terms of complexity while Smoked Oxtail in smoky Broth fared better, though even this Chef’s Special with plenty of Oil and tender Beef failed to match Bun Rieu that surprisingly featured a lot of Seafood surrounding thin Noodles while large Tomato chunks added bright spots of acidity to help counter the fatigue of spoonful after spoonful of identical flavors.
TWO AND A HALF STARS: While certainly not Pho Bosa’s target audience the fact remains that one can only do so much with cheap ingredients in Broth, and although better than prior experiences the fact that everyone else in the room was seen dressing up their Bowls indicates the product as served lacks in perceivable ways even to those who consider themselves fans.
RECOMMENDED: Bun Rieu, Nem Nuong Cuon (if only as a means to sample the impressive Peanut Sauce.)
AVOID: Pho Ga, French Bread.
TIP: 10:00a-9:30p Thursday through Tuesday, closed Wednesday.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.