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Atlanta-Buford Hwy-Vietnam House-solution to ho-hum Pho

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Atlanta-Buford Hwy-Vietnam House-solution to ho-hum Pho

Steve Drucker | Jul 28, 2002 06:43 AM

Like newly arrived Atlantan Gary Rolin (see link below), we have generally enjoyed the Pho served in Atlanta, even while knowing that the broths were one dimensional--often to the point of tastelessness.

That was before we found Vietnam House, which changes that, and much much more.

Vietnam House is tucked into a small strip center just north of the large shopping center with Marshall's and Burlington Coat Factory on Buford Hwy between Clairmont Road and Chamblee Tucker Road. In contrast to the rest of Buford Hwy's many Vietnamese places, Vietnam House is upscale--both in decor and price. But as in many things, you get what you pay for...

Only one visit so far. We tried a hot pot type entree soup menu listed as 'C9' (sorry, the name escapes me). Intense chicken stock slightly sugared. Shrimp, squid, scallops, tripe, chicken, sliced eye round, fresh water chestnut, snow pea pods, bok choy, rice vermicelli. All served on a burner to cook at the table (no fooling, the chicken was raw and proceeded to cook in the soup). The vermicelli is served separately, dry. You spoon vermicelli into your serving bowl, then ladle in the soup. Trust me. All ingredients were at or above the top level of taste, texture, composition and quality we have seen anywhere on Buford Hwy. The 'small' was $14.95, ample dinner serving for three chow-hungry people. Large was about four bucks more, and since we didn't see it, can't say how many it would serve.

We also tried a stir-fry (something we usually avoid) of dry sauteed boneless chicken with chili and lemongrass, accompanied (without asking) by excellent sticky rice. Also outstanding, so much so that it impaired our appetite for the soup. Starter was excellent Summer Rolls-rice paper wrapped rolls abundantly stuffed with shredded basil, cilantro, pork, and vermicelli, and served with traditional fish sauce based dipping sauce with shredded carrots.

We've been to the SFO area several times recently, and have been lucky enough to have the kind of rich, intense broths available there. Now we know we can get it here too.

Vietnam House's menu is about 80 items deep. It will take a lot of exploring. But after only one visit, I've put their number in my cell-phone speed dial. Next visit, we plan on bringing six or so folks, so we can really dive in. More reports coming.

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