At one point in time, there was little to no eating options along Steveston near Highway 99. I remember playing hockey at Richmond Ice and the only places we could hit up were Boston Pizza (*shudder*) or the bar upstairs. Now with the development of Ironwood, there have been more options added over the years. I have to say most of them have been less than impressive. Well, the fact that some of them are just standard chain restaurants didn't help too (Kesley's didn't survive here). So when I was reading up on where to eat around the area, I was drawn to Pho TEN. So many great reviews. I just had to see for myself.
And yes, I did go by myself, trying out 2 dishes and 2 more on a subsequent visit. The first visit, I had the Pho Dac Biet. The broth was light in flavour and colour. Although it was lacking depth, the broth was balanced though with equal amount of sweetness and savouriness. Yet, there was very little in the way of meat flavour nor the usual ingredients that go into the soup. There was a decent amount of noodles, which were not exactly chewy nor soggy. The meats were sliced thin and very tender. A decent, if not average, bowl of Pho. The Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi was nicely plated and carefully constructed. There were chopped pieces of chicken combined with pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, a thin slice of pepper, black pepper and mayonaisse. The bun could've stood to be toasted a bit more, but it was not bad. The chicken was pretty flavourful with a good char on most pieces. It was slightly dry though. The amount of mayo was excessive where I got good gobs of it in several bites. Of note, it was actual mayo, not butter mayo usually found in a banh mi.
On a second visit, I started with the Salad Roll. This was a pretty basic roll consisting of shrimp, vermicelli, pork and sprouts. It was wrapped neatly where it wasn't too tight or loose. The rice wrapper had a nice chewy texture which was still moist. The dip had a good balance of hoisin and peanut sauce. One thing I would've liked to see was some basil in the roll itself. For my main, I went for the Lemongrass Chicken & Spring Roll on broken rice. The large piece of chicken was cooked perfectly where it was moist and juicy. I particularly liked that the fatty chicken skin was removed. I am personally not a big fan of unrendered chicken skin. I didn't get a whole lot of lemongrass flavour, yet the chicken was still tasty. I was slightly disappointed at the use of wheat wrappers for the spring rolls, but they were still decent nonetheless. The filling was flavourful and of the right consistency (not mushy nor chewy). So you know the expression, "it's all relative"? Well, that would be the case here that Pho TEn is relatively better than the other dining options in the area. I've had better Vietnamese (more authentic too), yet Pho TEN is more than acceptable for what and where it is.
- Good service
- Clean and tidy
- Okay food
- Not the most authentic