Pho Saigon Noodle House

November 21, 2006

Pho Saigon Noodle House

2850 SE 82nd Ave
(503) 775-1373
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get there via trimet
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7 days a week, 10-10

pho sai gon
pho bo vien tai
BBQ Pork Wonton Soup or Xup Hoanh Thanh Xa Xiu
More photos here
With a name like Pho Saigon, it's hard to know if you're eating at a chain, or a mom-and-pop pho joint. For instance, is this Pho Saigon related to the Pho Saigon which had been in the Global Food Court downtown, or the one in Vancouver, or the one in Beaverton?

We went seeking pho, soup and bun. Pho Saigon is a pleasant restaurant with booths and tables, a large flat-screen TV, and a lot of lobsters on the wall. The menu is Vietnamese and Chinese, with most items given in English, Vietnamese and Chinese. I was a bit surprised at the prices: a small pho was $5.50, and a large was $8. But no matter.

We ordered salad rolls, fried prawns, a pho with meatballs and rare steak, BBQ pork wonton soup, BBQ pork bun, a thai iced tea, and a Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.

The drinks, of course, came first: small, strong, and not terribly sweet. I prefer doing my own sweetening, so that was right up my alley.

Next, the salad rolls, which were very decent, stuffed with shrimp and BBQ pork. The dipping sauce was very thin, which made for a drip hazard. I decided to get okay with a drip (or three) on my shirt.

The fried shrimp were, well, not the best example of the craft. The shrimp were firm, sweet, and mediumsized, covered with a thick batter, which was still doughy and undercooked. They came with a classic chinese sweet and sour dipping sauce. The person who ordered them didn't end up eating them in the end.

Then came the entrees. The BBQ pork wonton soup was totally full of wontons and chinese BBQ pork—it was the winner of the table. The wontons were filled, it seems with BBQ Pork, so they were at the bottom, covered by an impressive array of BBQ pork slices. The person who ordered that slurped happily, ignoring the glares from the other side of the tabel.

The pho was a small bowl with both meatballs and sliced eye of round. I had ordered it children's style, without onions, but that had been lost in translation: they may well have given me extra onions. There was a salad plate that was small, but with very fresh ingredients with a full salad plate. The beef broth was okay, though definitely mild and a little underspiced, not the rich broth that I relish.

And the bun, or vermicelli bowls (a rice noodle salad with a fish-sauce dressing), was deemed okay, but terribly mild. It came with adorably cut carrots, and pickled daikon. And while it was deemed okay, the eater picked at it.

Now it could be that we just got lucky, and came in on a bad night. In spite of the parking lot being full, there were only a few tables full in the restaurant. Friends, with better palates than mine, certainly, have liked it. Next time through, I'll stick to the chinese noodle dishes.

Restaurants in SE Portland

Posted at November 21, 2006 * add entry to del.icio.us

Comments

This is the one at Fubonn? There's a LOT of Chinese on the menu and I wonder if the owners are ethnic Chinese. I thought it was totally mediocre on my one visit and haven't had any urge to go back. With Malay Satay Hut and Banh Cuon Tan Dinh, two of my favorite SE Asian restaurants in town right next door, why would I? And then down the road you have places like Bun Bo Hue, Pho Oregon, Pho Van, and Pho Hung.

Posted by: extramsg at November 21, 2006 12:20 PM

Oh, I had thought that you liked it. The wonton soup was heads above anything else we ate there. My question is, if they were ethnic Chinese, why call it a Pho house? Is Viet cooking cooler/more trendy?

Posted by: vj at November 21, 2006 01:49 PM

This Place Rocks!!!

Posted by: Warren G at September 7, 2007 10:01 AM

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