This Saturday, I was at my other job and it was a full day so a boxed lunch was included. Not to sound disloyal or anything, but some of us decided to save our lunches and go out for some hot chow. Since time was limited, we needed something quick, but not quite fast food. The funny thing was, we probably spend more time in the car, fighting through traffic in the area than actually in the restaurant. The traffic around Empire Centre is an absolute nightmare.
Some of the crew wanted pho, and it was suggest we go to Pho Viet.
This particular location is new to me as it used to be another pho place called West Lake? It was kind of a mix of HK cafe/pho because they had combos that included a drink, starter, pho, and dessert.
Our bean sprouts came blanched, but I never use this stuff anyway - filler. Recently though, I discovered using the green stuff and a squirt of lime really enhances the flavour of the soup.
I like my spring rolls deep fried. Warning, they are tasty, but when they come, they're usually pretty damn hot and you should let them cool a bit before you bite into one.
Me, I usually get #1...I like rare beef, tripe, brisket. The rare beef cooks way too quick, so you gotta fish it out right away if you want it rare. Lately, I noticed the brisket is leaner than it used to be. That's a huge minus for me. Brisket is supposed to be fat...lean - no good. But the shop can't be blamed, people want to eat healthier nowadays and all these tree-hugging hippies out here on the West Coast are ruining everything.
A lot of people use the bottled chili sauce and that other brown stuff in their pho, not me. I just have it plain nowadays, or maybe with those green leafy things and a squirt of lime, but that's about it. I used to go to Pho Viet on Ackroyd alot, and I loved the chili sauce they had on the side (not the bottled stuff, the stuff that looked like XO Sauce and came in a jar). In fact, that was the sole reason I used to go to Pho Viet. I used to go through an entire container of the stuff and sometimes reach over the next table for another jar, but in the last few years, they changed the recipe, and it just doesn't taste the same anymore. It's less XO Sauce-like.
The food at this location is pretty much exactly the way I remembered when there was a location at Ackroyd. I still like the broth from Pho Cao Van bettter, but that's just me and I really have no idea what good pho is supposed to taste like. This new Pho Viet location is way cleaner than the place on Ackroyd, and larger as well. The price is always good, and the service was friendly enough. That being said, I'm not sure I'd go back often, seeing as how it's in one of the most traffic congested areas in Richmond.