Chicago >Pho Viet
“The brisket, flank and "rare" steak (that is never anything but well-done) are all good enough for a soup dish but definitely better in the company of Hoisin and hot sauce.”
“Personally, I have enjoyed too many hot dogs over my lifetime to care much about what I'm eating so long as it tastes good.”
Great Pho, Great Price.
Our biggest problem with North Vietnam probably wasn’t communism as much as what we consider our best friends they consider lunch. So before you take my advice, know that if Pho Viet served Chihuahua noodle soup, I’d definitely have a bowl.
Luckily, Argyle Street doesn’t serve the “mutton of the earth” as the Mandarins have called it since the 500BCE. At least to white people. This spares the beast-lovers from having to travel north of Lincoln Park to protest on broken sidewalks and me from boasting loudly and grossing people out more than I already do. The pho they do serve merely exploits America’s favorite ruminant. And exploit it they do.
If Le Colonial is your only point of reference, the contents of pho around Argyle Street may surprise and/or disgust you. Personally, I have enjoyed too many hot dogs over my lifetime to care much about what I’m eating so long as it tastes good. And the reticulum chamber of the stomach with some hot sauce bites back at me like the snappiest of sausage casings. Submucosa is predictable that way. The tendons are usually so tender from extended cooking that the only muscle fibers they can hold together are made of noodles. I will warn you that they still have enough resistance to stretch down your throat if you eat a gob of them so either practice your gag suppression or pull them apart with chopsticks first. The brisket, flank and “rare” steak (that is never anything but well-done) are all good enough for a soup dish but definitely better in the company of Hoisin and hot sauce. You’re not at Gibson’s. Garnish accordingly. My favorite way to eat pho is to take some broth, chopstick some noodles into it, then take some meat, dip it into a swirl of Hoisin and hot sauce and slurp it all down loudly enough to embarrass your date. If you spoon some mint leaf bonus! If, however, you spoon a raw pepper, good luck with that. But please, even if you like it hot, do not pour hot sauce into your broth before you try it. It’s too delicious on its own.
Pho Viet is well on par with Tank, Pho 777, Pho 888, Pho 666, Pho 911 and whatever else those people own pretending they’re different restaurants. In the back of Viet is a dance floor and karaoke machine begging the question: if sounds of slurping noodles add depth to sing-along incompetence. Yet no amount of noise could deafen me to the quality of the food. Maybe if they had a velvet rope…
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