Alright, class is in session. You are all registered in Pho 101. So what is exactly is Pho? Well, it is a Vietnamese dish which consists of rice noodles, thinly sliced beef (and other beef products) resting in a broth comprised of beef bones, oxtails, charred onion and spices. This broth can take a very long time to prepare, sometimes taking the entire day. The origins of Pho is a bit unclear. Some say it originated from the French (who occupied Vietnam) dish Pot-au-Feu. Others claim it was Chinese influence since Pho could be derived from "Fun" (Chinese for noodles). Whatever the case, it is a very satisfying and delicious dish from the Vietnam.
There are a multitude of Vietnamese noodle joints all over the GVRD, each with their different spin on the broth. Some are a bit richer and salty; some are a bit lighter and clear. Today, we decided to visit a brand new Pho restaurant on Hastings in Burnaby. The restaurant is aptly named Pho 101. Yes, there are a lot of Pho restaurants with numbers in their names; but this is the first time I've seen a triple digit number in the name. I guess they are running out of numbers to use? What will come next? Pho 666? Could be some hot and spicy Pho! Pho 101 has a huge advantage in its location. There is not another Pho restaurant nearby for at least 20+ blocks. Thus, there is no competition. Moreover, it seems like they wanted to go for a more updated decor and style. It's definitely a lot more clean and modern than most of the transplanted Pho restaurants. These other Pho restaurants do not renovate and it is extremely odd to eat Vietnamese food amongst Italian or Greek decor.
Luckily we arrived early, the place filled up pretty quick; partly because it has no competition and it's also a very small restaurant. Naturally, I ordered Pho and picked the most expensive one at $10.00 for a large bowl. This is probably one of the most expensive bowls of Pho I've ever seen. However, it comes with a side of thinly-sliced raw Filet Mignon which you can place into the hot broth. I was a bit skeptical of the meat, wondering if it was really going to be good. Yet, it was soft and tender, even after sitting in the broth for awhile. The broth itself was rich tasting and not oily at all. It was bordering on salty without being so. This was a solid bowl of Pho, if not a bit small compared to places like Pho Hong and Pho 99.
Italian Stallion and Wolvie joined us for this meal and the last time they dined with us was at Memphis Blues in December of last year. I guess we'll make a date for December of this year for our next meal then. JS had the Fried Chicken Leg and Rice. It's a simple dish really; but it's pretty good if you didn't want to go for Pho. Chicken skin was crispy and the meat was juicy and tender. However, LS stated that she preferred having the noodles. I would concur, especially since the chicken dish costs more than the Pho.
We also ordered a Vietnamese sub for good measure and it was actually pretty good. Crispy French bread and fresh fillings including what we figured was jellied pork rinds made for some good eating. So did Pho 101 make the grade? I would say yes. The food was made with care and the service was good.
- Pho is good
- Food is made with care
- Good service
- Extremely small restaurant, tight seating arrangements
- They didn't turn on the A/C and it was boiling while eating hot soup
11:00am - 8:00pm (7 days a week)