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Restaurant Review: Pho Viet Restaurant

This entry is part of a series, Restaurants»

Pho in a Bowl

I’ve been on a quest for many years now, to find the best bowl of pho in all of Austin. I am very serious about this sort of quest (it involves food, after all!), and so I’ve tromped about and tasted hundreds of bowls of soup in at least sixty restaurants in the five-county area. I know, it’s a truly hard life I lead; but if I don’t do it, who will?

The family settled on a favorite place, Pho Hoang, because they opened near our house a few years back and they serve a uniformly good menu of soups and other tasty dishes. Since they’re right around the corner, they suit us just fine. To me, they’re the epitome of a great pho house: Clean, fast, friendly service, good/great food, and attractive pricing. Add convenience to that and you’ve got a winner. (It’s not that I’m cheap; it’s that I’m cheap AND lazy, and I’ve got taste; a deadly combination.)

Recently, though, I noticed a new pho place being built in a restaurant space next to our neighborhood grocery. They were building in a location that has had a variety of restaurants go through it, including Maudie’s Tex-Mex. I’ve always thought it was a great location, with 7,000 high-tech workers just across the street and 6,000 houses within five miles; but somehow it never turned out that way, and the space stood empty for over two years, taunting my sense of how the world should work.

The wait’s been worth it, though. Pho Viet Restaurant finally opened a couple of weeks ago, and I must say, Pho Hoang now has some serious competition just down the street! (Sorry, fellas, but I can only tell the truth.) A family from California relocated here after some serious research, and all I can say is, they got it right. And then they settled here and built a fine eatery.

During buildout they reduced the size of the dining space a bit from the large footprint that Maudie’s operated, and no matter what time I stop by the place is humming. (Maybe they should have kept the larger size?) I always bring along friends and/or family, and we’re warmly greeted and quickly shown to a clean table. There’s all the expected condiments on display, and those great Chinese-looking soup spoons (I wonder, are they really Vietnamese?) and elegant chopsticks in the rack, ready to use. With warm weather ahead their outdoor seating should see a lot of use.

The menu has a goodly variety of pho, as expected, and a wide-ranging selection of non-soup dishes. Vermicelli with almost any combination of meat, shrimp, veggies and egg rolls is available, and they can also make up whatever mix you’d prefer. They also serve a fine selection of rice dishes, using either crushed rice, steamed rice or fried rice. A few “traditional” Viet specialties are also listed, although I’m always snarfing down mass quantities I always order a pho bo variation, so I don’t personally know how good those dishes are. They smell wonderful, though.

I’ve found that I don’t really need to order the large bowl at Pho Viet, their small is as big as many other shop’s larger serving. Their hot, fragrant soup is always accompanied by a generous pile of sprouts, basil, sliced chiles (Yum!) and more.

Instead of overdosing on soup, I get an order of Cha Gio, crispy spring rolls. They also serve the translucent-papered spring rolls, extra-large ones. I always spring (Get it? Spring?? I crack me up…) for the fried items, though; much to the chagrin of my internist.

This restaurant is so new they don’t yet have a website. (I may have to talk to them; hmmm…) I’ll update here as these fine folks get their business rolling. I firmly predict that they’ll prove you can open a good restaurant anytime, in any economy, and as long as you serve great food and pay attention to your customers (and they do!), you can make it…

Pho Viet on Urbanspoon

Pho Viet Restaurant, 603B Louis Henna Blvd. (East of the Greenlawn H.E.B. Store), Round Rock, TX 78664 512-255-7800. Dine In or Takeout.

Enjoy the (Tasty Noodle Soup) Heat!

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2 comments to Restaurant Review: Pho Viet Restaurant

  • E. Toy

    I am Vietnamese and Pho Hoang is totally NOT on my recommendation list. PHO VIET on another hand has been earning my business and more. I recommended it to everyone I know and eat there almost every week. The quality, the taste is very good for the money (very affordable.)
    The customer service is excellent too. Hope that they can keep this standard up and more!

    • Mr. Toy, thanks for your insight. People who really know the culture always have the “inside scoop” on where the Good Stuff is! I have both Pho Hoang and Pho Viet in my area, and I still visit both. You’re right, though, the service, ambience and preparation is slightly ahead at Pho Viet. I think both offer good value, and certainly quick lunch at either place, unless you get there a bit late and get stuck in the rush!

      Besides these two stores, where else in the north of Austin can you get good Vietnamese? I’m always on the lookout…

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us!