Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pho-Nam - enal

I've had some comments that "I eat too much chicken fried steak and need to broaden this blog." Fair enough. The FDA says you should eat 5 servings of CFS a week but what do they know right? So how about a healthy option?

Pho-Nam is a Vietnamese restaurant on Belknap/377 and technically its not in Fort Worth. Its in Haltom City. But, its really close, and its one of my favorite restaurants. And its my blog.

I'm not sure how long Pho-Nam has been around but I remember the first time my dad brought me to the restaurant. I'll be honest. I was scared. I thought, this is where dad's take their kids and leave them. Well, fortunately he took me with him when he left. Although I could have handled a few more bowls of pho (I don't know if pho is the term for soup but I'm going to go with it). If I have any Vietnamese readers or anybody who knows, please educate me.

First thing to know is that Pho-Nam has been at the end of this strip center for awhile, and its a bit dumpy, but don't let that scare you. Just down the street are newer and cleaner looking places. Don't be tempted by the shiny lights.

I always get the same thing for two reasons. First, I know its good and second, I'm scared of some of the other options. I get the regular size pho with steak (number 15). Sometimes I throw in an order of spring rolls. I also get the iced green tea.

Lets start with the tea. Its green tea, so its good for you. Its iced, so you have something to balance the scalding hot soup. Plus, they give you a lime (which in my opinion is better than lemon which is of course, better than lemon packets) for your tea.

Then on to the spring rolls. I didn't order them this last time but I usually get them. I prefer the spring rolls to the fried rolls, but mainly because they seem more authentic. Also, I used to go eat at a restaurant in Houston called Nit Noi that had amazing spring rolls. So I'm sort of hooked on those. Plus, they're healthier than the fried ones. The dipping sauce is great, but don't forget to add a drop of the chicken sauce. Its not really sauce of a chicken but my buddy calls it that because of the chicken on the front. Scratch that last sentence. It may be from a chicken. Or my friend may be an idiot (and after that sentence, no longer a friend).

Now for the pho-review (not to be confused with my faux-review). This is such a unique dish to me. You get a large bowl of beef broth, thinly sliced beef, rice noodles, cilantro and probably some other stuff. Then you get a plate with bean sprouts, basil leaves, jalepeno slices (fresh, not canned), and limes. If you'll look closely, you'll see that some of the beef is not all cooked completely. But give it a second, because the scalding broth will fix that. You can fix your pho however you care, but I like to throw in five or six basil leaves, a slice or two of jalepeno, some sprouts, and a dollop of chicken sauce. Stir it all together, and wait a second.

You must always wait a second. Here's why. You know those geothermal baths in Yellowstone that will kill you if you jump in? These are the similar, except image doing that burning to the inside of your body instead of the outside... I may be exaggerating a bit. But do you really want to find out if I'm wrong? Seriously, wait ten seconds. It will give you a chance to enjoy a nice steam bath from your broth.

Ten seconds are up, so start to slurp with the spoon that was already on the table when you arrived (health violation? aren't most good places in violation?) even though no spoon can adequately capture those slippery noodles. Then you try and use a chopstick, which makes you look like an idiot: "Hmm, I'll eat soup with chopsticks". But, then you look down, and all you have is a bowl full of broth, cilantro, basil and the bean sprouts you thought would get softer but never did.

So, if you want some pho-nam-enal food and you need a unique culinary experience, give Pho-Nam a chance. For many people (probably not the loyal readers of this blog), it will be one of the places you excitedly tell other people about. "You'll never believe where/what I ate last night". Dull people tell these stories (wait, isn't that what this blog is?).

I've also been told that Sonny's Diner on Camp Bowie has some phenomenal pho as well. Probably the last thing you would expect at a place called Sonny's Diner, especially if the only Sonny's you've ever known was a BBQ place.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most of you have been to Pho-Nam but I thought it was time to share this jewel with the world. Pho-Nam is at 4045 Belknap, but that wont help you find it. Just drive until you see the non-clean/shiny pho restaurant.

Pho Nam Restaurant on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

Steve-O said...

Excellent review. I love me some PhoNam.

Pete said...

Pho (according to a Cambodian guy I used to work with) is the noodles, not the soup.

And in case you're wondering, apparently it's pronounced puh, like "duh".

Steve said...

My wife and I had always referred to the sauce you speak of as "rooster sauce" due to the picture on the label. It's actually called srirach sauce. More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sriracha

hadji said...

My favorite viet place is Pho Saigon on the West Side in the strip center around Ridgmar Mall. It is just as good as any joint on Belknap w/o the "edge" of Belknap (which isn't necessarily a bad thing for me but it is closer). Incidentally, I always referred to the sauce as the other name for "rooster".

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Pete, does this mean my title doesn't work like I hoped? Do you pronounce the "Ph" like an "f" or like a "p"?

Bernie said...

I think the title works, regarless of how it's actually pronounced.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a long O sound along with the "P". Po -- Like the Teletubby or Edgar A. ????????

Stephanie said...

I'll have to try this place out. There used to be a place on Hulen called One Asia Bistro that had glorious vegetable pho, but, alas, they are now closed and I haven't found a comparable pho since. :-(

Joe said...

Pho-Nam is my first, last and my everything when it comes to all things pho.

My standard ordered:

Large #6, Bean Sprouts, squeeze of lime, no mint
Spring Rolls
Iced Condensed Milk Coffee (I believe #4)

Also, I like grilled pork vermacilli and the grilled shrimp.

Ginny said...

This is kinda late, but it's pronounced "Fuh." It is supposed to come from the French Pot au Feu, (pronounced "Fuh") which is a kind of soup, but who knows? Not me. Since the French occupied the country all those years, it seems logical.
In any case, it's usually very good.

ruth ann said...

try out Pho 95! it is next to the asian market on the intersection of Belknap/377.

Kathryn King said...

there's a new vietnamese place off of hulen in the shopping center across from ahhs. its on the corner not far from purple cow and mi cocina. i've had the bangkok seafood pho and it was PHO nominal... :)

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Kathryn, the place is called Pho Que Huong. Its from Dallas and is pretty good. I wasn't a fan of my pad thai but the missus like her pho. And they have a good selection of teas.