Posted by: Orlick | May 9, 2010

Judy Ruminates… Pho Bac – Vietnamese in Elmhurst

Here’s Judy Ruminates with her review of Pho Bac. This is the one inside the food mall on Broadway in Elmhurst. I always get it confused with Pho Bang, which is in it’s own building just outside of the food mall. I used to have a mnemonic device to help me pick them out, but I can’t remember if it was Pho Bac: don’t go back or Pho Bac: do go back. Maybe it was just Pho Bac: in the back. —Jeffrey Tastes

Pho Bac
Category: Vietnamese
8278 Broadway
Elmhurst, NY 11373
(718) 639-0000
www.phobacny.com

Wandering around Elmhurst when you’re hungry is not a good thing. Not because you can’t find a place to eat, it’s that there are TOO MANY PLACES TO EAT. Hubby and I walked around for a good hour with empty stomachs because we kept looking at menus and couldn’t decide on a place. I would say, “This looks good! Let’s eat here!” He would say, “Nahh…I’m not in the mood for [take your pick of anything in the nabe- Latino, Thai, Chinese, Taiwanese, Malaysian, pizza, etc].” We ended up doing Vietnamese because he realized he had just turned down the 10th restaurant in a row and he was asking for some disciplinary action right there on the sidewalk.

The restaurant is your typical grungy, very crowded Asian eatery. I got the pho with rare beef and he got the pho with meatballs. The broths in each were different, despite the fact that both were supposed to be beef soup. My theory? The different styles of meat seasoned the broth with their own distinct flavors. I really liked mine. It had a richer and fattier taste than his. {Appropriately so because I am “fattier” than he} This broth didn’t need any condiments from the table to spice it up. It was that good. The meat in both bowls were equally good. Mine were ultra-thin slices of beef that were probably dropped in the soup raw (hence the term rare beef) and cooked instantly by the heat of the broth. His were small meatballs with a slightly seasoned taste to them. Hands down, this pho beats out most of the pho places I’ve tried in Chinatown. Queens rocks. But you know that.

Pho Bac- pho with meatballs

We also had the banh mi. It was huge. We split it and agreed it was delicious. If you’re into pickled veggies, this is your dream come true. The meat was secondary in my book, but for for those of you who care about such things in your banh mi, it was fine and there was a decent amount. The banh mi also had some black fungus in it. {Also known as mouse ears, because that’s what these things resemble.} I haven’t seen this elsewhere in my banh mi adventures. I liked the added crunchiness it gave to the sandwich. Despite having a number of options for banh mi more accessible to me near my work, I would come back here for this version. — Judy Ruminates

Pho Bac- banh mi

Links:
Porkchop Express on bahn mi at Pho Bac – says “Nothing great, gentle reader.
Serious Eats goes beyond the normal menu
Chowhound boards: Best Pho Bang restaurant in Queens? & Vietnamese in Queens
3 star rating on Yelp
Kriheli – 9 places I stuff my face at

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