Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pho John - College Station Restaurant Review

I'm taking this weekend to do things for myself, rest and relax. The past week was too crazy. End of class project and paper, organizing an event social, doing research, giving two presentations. I managed to do it all (minus the last presentation, which ended horrifically), with some bumps in each one, but I am still alive. This research stuff is super stressful, especially given that I have a  PI with EXTREMELY high expectations and an intense personality. She's great and makes opportunities for us, but she knows how to make us work exceptionally hard to become exceptional researchers. I am just thankful to have such a supporting lab group and family and friends.
From First is so true.

I went out yesterday with my other BMEN PhD friends and we said to each other, gotta stick together through this hard sh*t. And yeah, we gotta stick it out. Next five years are gonna be hard and hellish, but we gotta fight for these small achievements and for our future goals...

With this goal of relaxing, I went out to eat pho and exercise with my buddies today. I got sick this past weekend and a hot bowl of soup, especially pho, always makes your body and your day better.

There are only three Vietnamese restaurants in College Station. Last year, I tried Rosie's Pho and enjoyed their pho and their smoothies. This time, I wanted to try Pho John, which I heard good things about too.

The inside is actually very spacious and kept very clean. The tables and chairs are pretty and also kept very clean.

The menu includes classic rice noodle bowls (bun), pork and rice plate, egg noodle dishes, curry, tofu and rice, and other rice plates. They even have Vietnamese iced coffee and bubble tea, although the bubble tea is kind of expensive ($4.55!) There is a kids menu that includes pho and two rice plate options.

What surprised me the most on the menu was that they offered BRISKET with their pho. I saw that and immediately went for it, except I ordered the kid's bowl ($4.50 ish). It came out and was definitely enough to fill me up. It seemed like what a small would be in just a smaller bowl. Lots of noodles and lots of meat.

Let me say WOW. The brisket was slightly thicker than the usual rare-sliced beef, which I really liked. It was tender and didn't have a lot of stringy pieces. The soup was super tasty but I could have done with more broth. The noodles sucked it up too fast and pho really needs to be swimming in the broth. Despite that, it was very tasty and hit the spot.

The garnishes that go with the pho came out so fresh looking I was amazed. Being from Little Saigon in SoCal, I am used to getting semi-old and wilted herbs and vegetables with my food at Vietnamese restaurants. The freshness and quality surprised me and made me happy. The basil that came out was so fresh and bright. The limes were super juicy.

My friend got the chicken pho and they gave huge chunks of what looked like nicely boiled chicken. Looked good and my friend said she really liked the broth.

My other friend got the vermicelli bowl with beef and eggroll. She liked it. The nuoc mam came on the side in a cute little bowl. The bowl for her vermicelli and meat and vegetables was very beautiful.

Another friend got the rice and pork plate. Looked good and fresh. Came with nuoc mam as well. No broken rice here though.

Two friends got the mi xao dong (fried egg noodles in the shape of a nest, covered in an oyster sauce saute of beef, chicken, and fresh vegetables). Looked very good, presented very beautifully, and a large portion.

I also got tea ($2.25 ish) and it came out very hot. Oolong tea. Awesome and just what I needed.

The price is higher than what you get in Little Saigon or Houston, but I believe it's worth it. The quality, presentation, taste, and portions are perfect.

I will definitely return, now that I know how amazing brisket is in pho.

Price: $3-5 appetizers, $7-12 entrees, $2-5 drinks
Food: 5/5
Ambiance: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Return factor: 5/5

Pho John,
1901 Texas Ave S,
College Station, TX 77850

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