Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area San Jose Pho

Pho Ha Noi, San Jose

DezzerSF | | Nov 29, 2008 09:08 AM

I came here for my third taste of "Northern" style Pho, and probably the best version I've had so far. The broth here is very clear, light in color, and well skimmed of fat. The taste is very simple, a light beefiness, with a nice balance of ginger and fish sauce, and none of the spices like anise or clove found in its Southern counterpart.

The tenderized beef was similar to what I've had at Turtle Tower and Pho Quan Ngon in SF. Here I tried Dac Biet #6, and enjoyed the thick cuts of tendon, which were perfectly cooked, having just the slightest bit of bite left in them, and with good flavor to boot. Brisket and tripe were fine, but the tenderized beef and tendon were standouts. Most reviewers elsewhere complain about the lack of beef here, and I would tend to agree, Turtle Tower probably gives the most generous portion of the three I've tried.

They give you two options for noodles, thin or thick and I went with thick since that's what Northern style usually comes with. The thick noodles here were very fresh with the same silky texture as Turtle Tower's.

Garnishes here were similar to Southern style, which differentiates it from the other 2 I've tried. Here you get basil, jalapenos, raw sprouts, and a lime wedge. There's also no soup nazis here like at Turtle Tower, I spotted plenty of patrons dumping Sriracha and hoisin in their bowls. Honestly, I find it insulting to do that to an apparent "purist" Pho, but to each their own and the owners here don't seem to mind.

I'm still partial to Southern style Pho, but when I want the cleaner, more simple Northern style, Pho Ha Noi is where it's at.

I also noticed they offer a potentially legit Pho Ga here "with intestines" so I'm assuming it comes with liver, gizzards, but a review elsewhere mentioned they don't offer the unborn eggs any longer. The only other two places in San Jose that offer Pho Ga with innards are Pho Kim Long and Pho Ga An Nam.

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