We love us some pho. Really and truly. I didn't really become completely enamored with pho until I lived in New Orleans. There are two Vietnamese communities in New Orleans (East New Orleans and West Bank) that have been thriving since being established by war refugees in the 70's. The similar climate and the shrimping industry led them there I believe. I digress. I have yet to find a pho broth in NY that I love as much as those I've found down south, but I am determined to. Soon after moving here, I asked a friend of a friend if he had a preferred pho spot. He pulled out his wallet and handed me a business card for Xe Lua. Apparantly, he is horrible with directions as he needed the business card to lead him to the resturaunt several times a month.
We skipped the heo, bo, ga and ech seen above and headed straight for the pho tai - the basic beef pho, the baramoter. We were also pleased to find the Singaporean beer Tiger - a favorite (and strong too).
The pho arrived with the requisite plate of goodies. Fresh thai basil, crunchy bean sprouts, cilantro, lime and plenty o' jalapeno.
The broth was good not amazing. Good amount of salt from the fish sauce - and Sriracha and jalapenos provided the heat. The beef, basic - not rubbery but I could have had it a bit pinker. Vermicelli is vermicelli. The veggies were tops.
So, is it the best pho in NY? I can't say, but I hope there is better. Would I go back there? Absolutely - in a second. But until then, I'm ready for another spot. I've got to try as many as possible to find that flavor that will keep me from dreaming of that southern pho I fell in love with. Got recommendations?
Info: Open daily, 10-10. 86 Mulberry St.