Okay, I am no pho (pronounced “fah”) expert, but I do know that the broth should be quite clear.
Cloudy broth, such as the bland dishwater served at Pho 999, simply does not cut it.
Phor those who don’t know, pho is a Vietnamese soup, similar to Japanese ramen or soba, that is usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga). The soup includes thin vermicelli rice noodles and comes served with a platter of basil, lime, bean sprouts and sliced peppers that are added to the soup by the consumer.
I ordered the “˜Tai”™ which is rare beef, but all the various choices are there, including tripe, tendon and brisket also chicken or shrimp or tofu or BBQ pork – the usual suspects.
My soup with its “˜rare”™ steak shows up immersed in the hot broth, not looking at all pink.
It”™s thinly sliced but chewy and overcooked. I squeeze some lime into the bowl and pluck some pungent purple Thai basil and some bean sprouts from the platter that lands on your table in advance of the soup. Some people also add hoisin (a sweet Chinese soy bean-based sauce) and/or sriricha (a smooth Thai paste made from sun ripened chilies and garlic) to amp up the heat. They do have a good selection of condiments on the table, including hot green peppers in vinegar.
Insipid and uninspiring, the only saving grace is that this hearty meal only costs about $7.00.
They also serve exceedingly sweet boba concoctions, including some fancy ones such as jackfruit, durian, papaya, coffee and mango, and Ca Phe Sua Da – the Vietnamese ice coffee that’s essentially a shot of espresso mixed with condensed milk, served in a glass of ice.
Well, I feel like I struck out with this place. Pho 999 is not phabulous.
So what”™s your favorite Pho location?
6411 Sepulveda Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
NW cnr Sepulveda and Victory
Open: Mon-Sun 9 am – 10 pm
Review by Pauline Adamek