Last Saturday night was wild, out of control, borderline barbaric. All day I pondered about what debauchery I should partake in after the sun went down. Bars? Illegal dog fights? Street fighting?
No. In the end, I went with a giant bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup, pho (pronounced 'fuh'; you're welcome).
I texted my partner in crime, my sister. The conversation went something like this: "PHO?!" I asked.
"YES. WHEN?" she replied eagerly.
"NOW." I screamed at Siri, too excited to type. We hopped in the car, put Breezeblocks on repeat, and headed out into the night. Knowing that I was about to swallow a bucket's worth of pho, I wore a hoodie with a lot of extra space in it. Pro tip: I advice you do the same. Elastic banded pants too, if you're a real stud.
It's easy to miss Pho Long, hidden away in Jeffrey Plaza off Olive in UCity. Jeffrey Plaza is full of international restaurants (including Szechuan, Jamaican, Vietnamese and Japanese), yet has the most Caucasian name possible. I also advise that you be careful driving and parking in their parking lot. People seem to forget how parking works in there. I saw three different cars parked in 2 or more spots. Jerks.
Unlike Mai Lee and it's almanac of (awesome) food, Pho Long keeps things simple. There are three appetizers, a page of pho, then a few dishes that are basically soup-less pho. We started with the fresh Spring Rolls ($3.95), which were devoured by me in a manly 30 seconds.
I went with P3 ($7.50), a pho with eye-round steak and Vietnamese meatballs. For some reason, most white people are scared of Asian meatballs. Unlike a sturdy, crumbly Italian meatball, Asian meatballs tend to have an almost spongey texture. When they're good, they're great and when they're bad, they make sad.
I'm happy to report that Pho Long's meatballs are well-seasoned, tasty and kindly pre-cut before being served. Nothing makes you look stupider than dropping a meatball into a steaming hot bowl of pho at a business lunch, causing all that hot liquid to stain your shirt, burn your skin and make your boss wonder why he ever hired you (speaking from personal experience).
The eye round was also solid, but next time I'm going all-balls.
The broth itself was very tasty, and it came with the usual accouterments of lime, Jalapeño, bean sprouts and a few other things. I threw in some Hoisin, some chili paste and was off to the races. It was all a blur after that.
Pho Long made for a very tasty and very filling dinner. If you're in that part of UCity and aren't in the mood for Chinese, I advice you check it out.