Tag Archives: Pho

Superior Pho in Cleveland lives up to its name

vietnamThe first time we attempted to go to Superior Pho (3030 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, OH), we couldn’t find it! Superior Pho is located in a tiny mall with other Asian restaurants and businesses. However, we didn’t know that, so when we walked into the front entrance of what we thought was the right address, we promptly turned around when we arrived in the lobby of another restaurant. However, stay heartened, just park in the back when you turn off of east 30th street and Superior Pho will be the first restaurant you encounter from the back entrance.

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Superior Pho is a simple place with a few tables and tvs in the corners. We arrived for dinner at about 6 pm, and the place was packed – it closes at 8, so keep that in mind. To start off, we ordered mango bubble tea and Vietnamese coffee, cà phê đá, which was served with an individual drip filter (cà phê phin) – the first time we had ever seen it served this way – though it is apparently the authentic way to do things. Thankfully, the menu at Superior Pho was not as enormous at other Vietnamese restaurants, which made it easier to actually settle on a dish. Along with pho and vermicelli dihes, there was a single banh mi sandwich and a well-curated selection of house specialties including Bò lúc lắc (beef salad) and Bò bía (rice paper rolls with Chinese sausage).SPho3

The main thing to order at Superior Pho is obviously pho, the iconic Vietnamese soup. There were 14 pho permutations you could order by number including: brisket, flank steak, meatball, chicken or even veggie (Large: $8.95 / Small: $7.95). We ordered a classic Beef Pho with flank steak. We always want to try a second dish at the restaurant, so I went for one of my favorite Bún noodle dishes Bún thịt nướng ($9.50) vermicelli with grilled pork. Our entrees were brought out in short order – and we were instantly impressed, everything was fresh and tasty. The pho broth was flavorful and heavily spiced with scallion, basil and cinnamon, and the beef was of very high quality. The large size was more than enough to share, and for only a dollar more than the small, why not? The vermicelli dish was of similar high quality, with the perfect mix of fresh veggies, spice and fish sauce.

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Much like Chicago (and anywhere else) there is a bit of a turf war between restaurants and fans on who has the best Pho in town. And while we haven’t sampled enough places to make a definitive decision about the best pho in Cleveland, we are definitely fans of Superior Pho. This was some of the best pho we ever had, and could certainly hold its own against any we had tried in Chicago. We look forward to enjoying more Superior Pho in the future, especially as a tonic for the impending cold weather.

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Classic Pho at Tank Noodle

Tank Noodle
4953 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640

vietnamPho Xe Tang, popularly known as Tank Noodle, is a staple of Chicago’s Vietnamese Argyle neighborhood and our go-to place for Vietnamese cuisine in Chicago. Though this area has no shortage of places that do pho very well – Pho 777 and Pho 888 spring immediately to mind – we always end up coming back to Tank Noodle (there is a fish tank in the corner, from which we suspect the restaurant gets its name). We have introduced many of our friends to Vietnamese food here, and everyone has come away happy. Be warned: the menu is, well, gargantuan. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the seeming laundry-list of Vietnamese dishes, but we are still searching for something they don’t make well here, and there are options for every palette, from vegan to carnivorous and everything in between.  Of course, you will see most people ordering pho, though you can also get stone pot dishes, noodles, and bánh mì sandwiches.
Tank Noodle

Though it is easy to get bogged down in choices, we have a few go-to options to which we always return. Lindsay enjoys her lemongrass noodle bowl, a light cool dish that is especially good in summer months. Matt also enjoys #195, the the Hot and Spicy Sour Chicken Soup, which comes with an ingredient list that reads like a paragraph: “pineapple, lime leaves, hot pepper, tamarind, okra, Alocasia odora, culantro, sour bamboo, basils, rice paddy herb, dried onion, garlic pork oil.” The flavor combinations are exciting and seemingly unique to this dish. Spice it up with some chili sauce, peppers, and more lime juice, and it’s a great winter soup / full meal anytime. Get the “small” – at $12.95 it is enough food for two days. We don’t even want to know how big the large is ($18.95).

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In the winter, however, you have to go with the pho. The most popular choice always appears to be beef pho. You can decide what kind of meat you want in the pho, ranging from sliced steak to tendons. While you can select to get a small or large size, much like with Matt’s soup, unless you are sharing with 3 other people (and maybe you are) the “small” is plenty large enough for even the biggest appetite. Though the broth is heavenly, our favorite part of pho is really the platter of garnishes that comes with it. On the plate you get Thai basil, culantro ( a fascinating herb that tastes like cilantro but looks like a stalk of grass), sprouts, lime wedges (cut the right way by taking out the white pith in the center) and hot peppers. Of course, to go the extra mile to make your pho spicy you can add some house-made chili sauce and fresh jalapeño peppers.

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If you have a large group, it is absolutely essential to have reservations, since this place can get packed to the gills, especially after 7pm on Fridays and weekends. It’s also fun to sit at the large table with the lazy susans. When we were there with a group of eight people on a Friday night, a huge line loomed behind us. Thank goodness for that reservation.

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