At Vietnam in East Dallas, a Brief Lesson in How to Make Pho That Doesn't Suck

Categories: Eat This

VietnamPho.jpg
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Vietnam in East Dallas is the quintessential hole-in-the-wall spot that serves up amazing, traditional pho. And when Chef Matt McCallister mentioned this 16-year-old eatery as one of his favorites in a recent interview, it was time to revisit.

The particular pho in the photo above is No. 79 from Vietnam's lengthy menu, the thin-eye round beef brisket. When I visited recently, I was feeling more determined than hungry and gave a solid shot at finishing the entire bowl. It didn't happen, but my attempt still left me pretty much miserable for the next four hours. It was glorious.

Micheal Nguyen, whose family owns Vietnam, shared a couple of his secrets with me.

"It's all about the beef bones for the broth and time," he said. "It's a 24-hour cycle and there are no short cuts. If you get pho somewhere and it tastes crazy, it's because there are a lot of additives, because they didn't do it right and let it cook long enough. Here we start a day ahead and that's what makes it great."

While the broth is the heart of pho, the plate of fresh cilantro, Thai basil, jalapeños, bean sprouts and lime wedges are earthy and sensuous, and it all comes in at $9.20, for the bowl and tea. The lunch buffet full of other traditional Vietnamese dishes is also a great deal.

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
Sweet_sour_dulce
Sweet_sour_dulce

I love it so much, I know this place on Maple ave and wycliff.. It's so delicious! I highly recommend it!

Emma
Emma

Pho is for Lovers, off Greenville Ave North of Lovers Ln.It's adorable and has vegan options!

twinwillow
twinwillow

I'd been dying to try this place so, LDD's review got me! A friend and I had their lunch buffet today. I'm not usually the buffet type but, the buffet was great and, only $6.95 plus flavored ice tea and tax. $8.68 total. It's the best damn buffet in Dallas as far as I'm concerned. I'm so happy I only live minutes away.

just sayin'
just sayin'

I always seem to get thrown out of Pho places. Evidently it is frowned on in their culture to yell "mow" and slap your waiter across the face.

DRadetzky
DRadetzky

While I'm happy that my beloved Vietnam has garnered a nice mention here, I also dread the potential onslaught of hipster douchery. Ships was uninhabitable, if you will, for almost 2 years after some of the favorable write ups it received from the Observer. And the Landing still suffers from the same thing. I guess that's the price to be paid for doing what you do so well.

amy
amy

I've thought that Vietnam has been a little meh lately. I live like 5 blocks away and will drive to downtown for pho instead of going to Vietnam. They're kind of skimpy with the meat, and the service is very hit and miss.

It may be a bit pricier, but pho colonial is better quality, i think

Ralphy
Ralphy

Beef bones and broth time is very important;  but 24-hours isn't necessary to extract the flavor.  What Nguyen didn't say is, the chef's secret is to cut the bones so the marrow and flavor is exposed and can cook out of the bones. 

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

This reminds me I haven't been back to Huong Ly in ages. :(

Did they serve the slices of round on the side or already dropped in?

G_David
G_David

I started going here a few years ago, due to the fact that Mai's is closed on Sunday.  At some point it hit me that this place is quite a bit better than Mai's, for my money (and doesn't have the faint aroma of a urinal cake like Mai's).  Now it's my go-to Vietnamese restaurant no matter what day it is.  In fact, between this place, Jimmy's, Bangkok City and Jade Garden, I could eat all my meals on a 6-block stretch of Bryan for years into the future.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

We may have dined at the same time? Nick and I stopped in to check in on the Pho. I'm still learning Dallas' Pho scene one bowl at a time, but I found Vietnam's to be good. It was a little salty for my liking, and heavy in cinnamon and spice, which turns some people off, but super hot and certainly tasty. Beef was fine, but well done (would be great if you could add it yourself, and watch them cook to your liking) and tendon was soft and delicious.

Lover's is my next stop.  And Lemongrass is still my favorite so far.

Pho crawl anyone?

amy
amy

I've heard good things about the buffet, but haven't seen it. It's just shady looking enough to probably be pretty good. 

twinwillow
twinwillow

Not to worry. They won't like the neighborhood.

40ozerandahamsammich
40ozerandahamsammich

That's funny. You just made a comment that a hipster douchebag would make. Irony....

Mike D
Mike D

i disagree with every bone in my body. you must be from pho colonial b/c there's no way anyone would consider it to be better than Vietnam.

Service? really? what was wrong with service...you walk in, sit down, get a water or tea and order.

twinwillow
twinwillow

"Try it. You'll like it". Soup, mains, including pork, chicken, and beef, lot's of veggie's, white rice, fried rice, and, noodle dishes and desserts. Today was fresh fruit including watermelon, fried bananas in syrup and iced bundt cake. Lot's of condiments, too.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Amy is probably talking about Pho Colonial's downtown location. 

HOTCHAGIRL
HOTCHAGIRL

I agree with your protest that Pho Colonial is better. It is not. It was the first bowl of pho I had, and after trying multiple other places I drive right past it on my lunch break. They put a bunch of sugar in their broth that makes it way too sweet!

amy
amy

I was ordering pho from Vietnam at least once a week for a while, but it seemed like the quality declined. I was getting 2-3 small pieces of fatty brisket and extra-skimpy on the veggies (except for the mound of sprouts). Like I said, maybe it's the to go thing. And they always forget to make my damn bubble tea! 

twinwillow
twinwillow

Their Frankford location's food is a bit less meh than downtown.But, can't compare with Vietnam Restaurant.

foodbitch
foodbitch

At Pho Co, B5 is all you need to know. It's not pho. It's bun. And it's a big bowl of tasty. So, sure, maybe the pho at Pho Co is BS, but the B5 is worth the trip and even worth the shit parking situation, in my opinion.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

That is what I figured. I haven't been since late summer, so my experience might not hold true any longer but everything I had there was lackluster. Banh mi on bad bread, bland spring rolls with overly sweet peanut butter sauce, and pho that was not hot enough and devoid of beefy flavor.

Should I pay them another visit?

Bev Garvin
Bev Garvin

They do put sugar in the broth at Pho Colonial.  I discovered this once when I ordered Shrimp Fried Rice which I like with a little salt & lots of pepper.  However they don't have salt or pepper on the table so I asked the waiter for some.  He brought out a little dish from the kitchen of what looked like salt & pepper mixed together.  I sprinkled some on my food but it was sweet and tasted horrible. I asked what is this?  He proceeded to tell me it is the "seasoning" they use for everything.   Now I only order Bun which is pretty good.  The rest not so much.  I like Vietnam & Mai's pho.

twinwillow
twinwillow

I also agree with Mike D. Vietnam Restaurant is the bomb! Sooooooo much better than Pho Colonial.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...