My first experience with Pho Tau Bay was back at its original location near Guildford. I can't say that I came away impressed despite the rave reviews by others. The broth was overly ladened with MSG for my tastes. Now with a new location in the heart of Newton, it seemed like a good time for me to make a redo of sorts, albeit with much nicer digs. Yes, the place is new from the ground up, hence, it's clean, modern and inviting. A total opposite of the other location with bench seating that was shifting as I was eating. On a side note, the modernness of this location could give Pho on Chopsticks a run for its money, yet at the same time, charging significantly less money at the same time...
Much like last time, I went for 2 dishes, which surprised the friendly server. He looked at me like I was nuts. Well, I guess he had good reason since the Pho Dac Biet was a healthy portion. It had a good amount of noodles and tender slices of meat. I found the broth to be much lighter on the MSG this time around, yet still exhibiting some meatiness. Unlike many other lighter versions, I could really taste the star anise and cloves. An all-around solid bowl of Pho in my books. I particularly liked the addition of saw leaf herb atop the usual sprouts and basil.
The Grilled Chicken on Rice was even larger which ultimately led to leftovers. The three moist pieces of grilled chicken were charred nicely which was both aesthetically-pleasing and tasting. I really got the smokiness of the char while the chicken was seasoned just enough. The broken rice was firm while still soft. This was a pleasing end to a meal that was both inexpensive AND served in a clean and modern environment. Makes me wonder how Pho on Chopsticks can charge almost double for essentially the same thing (with both places being similar and somewhat closeby).
- Clean, modern digs
- Very friendly service
- Decent eats
- Not really anything unless you don't like Vietnamese food...