I finally get Pho.
Served up in bowls the size and approximate volume of bathtubs, its a brothy Vietnamese blend of meat, noodles, and vegetables. People who love it absolutely covet the stuff. Everybody else (including me, until recently) sort of wonders what the heck the big deal is.
After giving it one last try, consider me among the converted.
Run by the Nguyen family, Simply Vietnam is housed in an area best known for, well, auto parts stores. Mom heads up the kitchen, the kids wait tables and dad pretty much makes sure everything’s running smoothly. Which it mostly does, despite the crowds slurping and sucking down gallons of Pho (pronounced ‘fu’ as in ‘fun’).
Which brings me back to my conversion, which I’ll sum up in 6 ways.
1. No gristle. I hate gristle. And it’s why I usually hate Pho. (Though I didn’t try the ‘tendon’ flavor. I can’t make any promises about that.)
2. Flavorful broth. Perfumed with lime and basil, it’s Heaven.
3. Generous plate of sprouts and such. (Though I didn’t get any mint!)
4. Condiments on the table: Fish sauce, plum sauce, hot sauce, etc. for optimum flavor enhancement.
5. Your pores never felt so good: Hot and steamy, it’s a facial in a bowl
6. $5.95 for lunch? Now, that’s a deal.
What else to try? Snack on the BBQ pork spring rolls ($4.25), which come with a tasty peanut sauce; and don’t miss the vermicelli, a perennial favorite. The B11 (grilled prawns & grilled lemongrass beef, $6.95) has crispy, grilled meat with just a hint of char.
Finish up with a Thai iced coffee (dad makes them himself) and a little rub of Buddah’s tubby belly on the way out. Or, uh, your own, It just depends on how much Pho you put away.
Simply Vietnam, 966 North Dutton Ave., Santa Rosa, 707.566.8910
Open Mon-Sunday for lunch and dinner. Take-out available.