Recommended to me by a Vietnamese acquaintance, I had a chance to check out Pho 2000 last month when a visitor from Paris craved a Southeast Asian meal and breakfast hour was the only intersection on our calendars. Pho 2000 opens at 8:30am daily making it an easy choice. I figured that we could pop into Turtle Tower next door if it turned out to be a bust. Luckily, no need to move on, we turned out to be quite happy with our breakfast of champions.
#1 Phở Đặc Biệt for each of us, small for me, and large for him. To my eye, the small was bigger than other places serve, and the large was gargantuan. Pho 2000 has a fresh rice noodle option . . . ask for “fat noodle” shown as Hofun (Large/Fat Noodle), 75¢ on the Side Orders section of the menu.
R asked for guidance on tackling his bowl of pho and use of the herb plate and table condiments. I reiterated “no condiments dumped in the soup stock” other than steeping a slice of fresh jalapeño chile and the occasional squeeze of lime. I showed him how to add the bean sprouts, tucking them under the mass of noodles to wilt them below the surface of the hot stock, and tugged the fresh basil leaves off the stem then tore them to release their fragrance into the soup. In a small side dish I mixed a small scoop of chile paste with fish sauce and added a squeeze of lime. I explained that this was for dipping the meats and that others might use sriracha, hoisin or other available condiments to suit their own tastes.
The clean and beefy stock had less mineral influence and more fragrance from star anise and sweet brown spices but not in an overpowering way. Dissolved collagen gave this stock a bit more heft and a silken texture. The fresh rice noodles were a shade chewier than Turtle Tower’s and not as slippery in the mouth. Meats were all good quality, just right firmness on the tendon and subtle seasoning on the well-done flank though the tai (rare steak) slipped too far down into the stock and cooked too fast.
I liked this as much as the starkly Northern-style pho next door at Turtle Tower.
If you need fresh sprouts and herbs with your bowl and a note of sweet spices in the beef stock, check out Pho 2000.
637 Larkin St
Monday – Saturday: 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Sunday: 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM
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