I had the pleasure of visiting Pho Huong Viet (3855 17th Ave SW, Calgary) this evening for dinner with my buddy JC as we got to catch up on life and a big moving decision that was coming up for him.
The restaurant is situated in a strip mall on a busy intersection and JC had mentioned it was often packed throughout the day.
The restaurant was half full when we arrived and had people lining up at the door by the time we departed!
It is a pleasantly estetic Vietnamese restaurant (most tend to go for pragmatic rather than pleasing design). The restaurant looks like it can seat about 50-60 people, the menu is priced fairly which is a surprise in a city that is well known for its Vietnamese cuisine and has seen prices inflate (unnecessarily) over the years.
JC went with the curry seafood noodle soup and I opted for my traditional choice of Pho Dac Biet (special Pho).
The reason I do this is that when I go to a restaurant, the item I want to put to the test is their signature dish, in this case, the special beef noodle soup. If a Pho restaurant fails at providing a good soup, they ahould not be in business.
The service was “slow” for a Pho restaurant, but I didn’t mind this. Typical Pho restaurants have cauldrons of Pho broth ready-to-go for their customers to get them in and out. However, the slower service actually reflected the quality of their food in this case as I found my soup was carefully prepared with just the right balance of noodles and soup and generously filled with various cuts of beef in a bowl so large that I haven’t seen in years.
The soup was rich in flavour, it had a subtle sweetness, and it was fragrant.
Many Pho restaurants over the years have lost this touch of fragrance in their beef noodle soup and it is a sad thing; it is the fragrance that tantalizes the tastebuds of the potential diner and invites them to come and try out this particular meal.
I had mentioned to JC as we had pulled up to the restaurant that the name of the restaurant meant “Pho with the fragrance of Vietnam”; I’m glad their food lives up to the name of the restaurant!
I enjoyed my meal to say the least.
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it!