Pho-lovers focused on broth say that Pho Bac in Elmhurst makes some of the best Vietnamese noodle soups in town.
"This is so far superior to average Manhattan pho that it almost tastes like something completely different," swears Pan, who sampled pho tai gau (rice noodles in beef soup with rare beef and brisket). "It was so aromatic with cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, and probably other spices." Yet it's also subtle and well balanced, says longtime fan E Eto—a welcome contrast to competing soups that overpower with spice. (Daniel76, in dissent, finds Pho Bac's broth light on flavor and heavy on MSG.)
Beyond pho, try above-average spring rolls (cha gio); spicy, salty chicken lemongrass (ga xao xa ot); or the deeply flavorful, slightly caramelized grilled pork chop on rice (com suon nuong), which Pan pronounces "fantastic, wonderful, and just plain great!" Banh mi are delicious and surprisingly cheap, E Eto adds, and the crab-asparagus soup (sup mang cua) is a dependable and little-mentioned pleasure from the best Vietnamese kitchen in this part of Queens.
Pho Bac [Elmhurst]
82-78 Broadway (near Whitney Avenue), Elmhurst, Queens
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