Ben Thanh, formerly of St. Petersburg in the K-Mart Plaza on 34th St N near the 3000th block, which left approximately 4 years ago is back in Pinellas Park. This was always my favorite Vietnamese place in Pinellas, and I am very happy they are back.
I went there today, and enjoyed a near perfect bowl of pho. For my appetizer, I had the
bo bia, chili vegetable with chinese sausage rolls. These are the fresh, unfried spring rolls. These were always my favorite at Ben Thanh, and I haven't seen anything exactly like them anywhere. They have a bit of slightly cooked carrot in the middle, with some hot sauce, a thin slice of spicy sausage and lots of crisp lettuce and perhaps mint and
basil. Two perfect rolls with a nice peanut dipping sauce for only $3.00. They also have a vegetarian version called bo bia chay, also for $3.00.
A huge bowl of pho with all of the accoutrements-sliced jalepeno, a pile of fresh bean sprouts, a large sprig of basil and lime, along with the requisite sriracha and hoisin is only $5.50. When this bowl is presented before you, you have to just breathe in the fumes for a minute. This is a great bowl of pho and it just makes you feel good.
Their new menu is a little more focused than their previous one, not quite so many dishes, but their menu clearly states, "if your favorite dish is not on the menu, please let us know in advance, we will try to accommodate".
Next time, I intend to try bun bo hue ben thanh, spicy beef with lemongrass flavored thick vermicelli soup, $6.50, that is, if I can resist ordering that transcedent pho.
Their new location is at 4200 62nd Ave N, Suite C, Pinellas Park, FL 33781.