Sherman's Food Adventures: Pho Haven

Pho Haven

For a cozy tight community such as Ladner, they do have some culinary gems despite little fanfare.  We have options such as Il Posto, Sapporo Kitchen and Taverna Gorgona that I would not hesitate to visit again if I'm in the area.  Recently, Boca Grande opened up a B&M shop offering up not only donuts, but Mexican food.  I made plans to meet up with Vandelay (yes, he lives!) but to our disappointment, not only were they out of donuts (they sell out really early), they were actually closed!  Well, that meant we had to go with Plan B where we made the short walk over to the newish Pho Haven (photo from their Facebook page).  This means that there are 2 Vietnamese restaurants in Ladner including Pho Saigon.

We didn't get too creative with our appetizers going for the good ol' Salad Roll as well as an order of their Fried Chicken Wings.   As you can see in the picture, the salad roll was pretty standard consisting of rice vermicelli noodles, sprouts, romaine lettuce and prawn.  With that being said, it was neatly constructed (not too tight nor loose) with fresh ingredients and an on point texture for the rice wrapper.  We were on the fence with the chicken wings though.  The meat itself was juicy and tender, but the skin was not crispy nor rendered enough.  Loved the glaze it was tossed in as it was briny from the fish sauce balanced off by sweetness.  Of course, the side of sweetened and spiced nuoc cham also kicked up the flavour quotient a notch.

Going for the standards, we had the Pho Dac Biet and also the Lemongrass Chicken with Rice.  Presented in a decent portion size, the pho was quite good.  The broth itself was clean and fairly subtle.  We could get some sweetness and faint hints of star anise.  Noodles were al dente and not clumpy while the meats were generally tender.  I thought the rare beef could've been just a slight bit more tender though.  Neatly plated, the lemongrass chicken was charred and caramelized.  It was juicy and full of flavour from the brine exhibiting a sweet briny saltiness.  Although it could be considered a small detail, the fried egg was not overdone, so the runny yolk could be enjoyed with the rice.  Overall, this was a pleasant meal served in a clean inviting dining space.  Owner was super nice and I would say the food is competitive with Pho Saigon down the street.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Clean dining space
- Super nice people

The Bad:
- Wings could've been crispier
- Pho broth could be more impactful

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