Something’s up on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, where Pho Saigon No. 1 has settled into the space once occupied by World of Taste, a Chowhound destination for Vietnamese soups and noodles. You’d hope for first-rate pho there, but Joe MacBu found the broth one-dimensional and clove-heavy. However, he loved thit heo gia cay, a stew of roasted pork belly and mushrooms in a rich, complex broth funkified by fermented shrimp paste. Add heat and zing, if you like, with chile paste and pickled chiles. Joe’s advice: Pass on the pho and order instead from the handwritten menu.
As for the old World of Taste, its owner and cooks decamped last year to open a new place across the street called Com Tam Ninh Kieu. Its pho is the best Joe’s had in New York, distinguished by the broth, “beefy, complex and appropriately spiced.” As the restaurant’s name implies, though, its specialty is com tam, or broken rice. This is good too, or at least acceptable to Joe’s discerning Vietnamese friend from California. The rice itself is solid, but the accompaniments inconsistent: tasty pork skin, grilled pork chop, and shrimp cake; stale, dry egg-pork cake.
Pho Saigon No. 1 [Bronx]
2614 Jerome Avenue (near 193rd Street), Bronx
Com Tam Ninh Kieu [Bronx]
2641 Jerome Avenue (between Kingsbridge Road and 192nd Street), Bronx