For my frequent readers, my modus operandi is clear: Have a couple of drinks, chat with the bartender, then ‘OK Google’ the terms ‘pho near me’. The reviews are meaningless as the highest rated pho spots still turn out to be a disappointment. This time Google told me to head Pho Saigon which is located at 987 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Since it was only two blocks away from my current location, I followed Google’s orders.
The place looked too nice from the outside and the inside which is inversely related to how good the bowl will be i.e., nice place=bad pho.
The waiter brought over some Chinese style chips to hold me over until the spring rolls arrived. This is another red flag as Vietnamese restaurants typically do not do this.
The Spring Rolls
The spring rolls came and they were fantastically fresh. I’ve always maintained that there is no causal relationship between great spring rolls and great pho.
Looking at the pictures right now, I am confused as to why I didn’t think too much of the bowl. The meat was perfectly rare, the broth was reasonably clear, and the sprouts, jalapenos, cilantro, and onions were in abundant supply. What the pictures do not reveal is how bland the taste was. The noodles had no personality and the broth had no spark.
The search for decent pho in NYC continues. Or perhaps I should give up.