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Pho Y in San Jose - good broth, weak meats

Alice Patis | Apr 17, 200607:11 PM

Returning from a project site near Capitol Expressway, I decided to swing by Pho Y to try the pho. I ordered a Pho Tai with Gau (fatty brisket) and Gan (tendon), regular is $4.75. It came super fast, faster than it took my server to bring my "pink tapioca seeds in coconut milk" drink.

Melanie Wong has been here twice (post linked below) and she's pretty spot on in saying the broth has a nice, clean but meaty flavor, with not much star anise or spices, plus it's not overly salty and there's no MSG after taste. It's a tad on the murky side; it'd be nicer if it was more clear but that doesn't matter too much. Plus it's steaming hot; so hot it fully cooked all of the thin slices of eye of round, except for one little spot on the top-most slice.

Normally, I don't like to order my Tai served raw on the side, because a perfect bowl of pho would have rare to medium rare beef sitting amdist the broth, so when you bite into the beef you can taste the pho. In the past when I used to order Tai on the side, dipping the meat into the broth doesn't pick up as much pho flavor so it ended up tasting only like raw beef.

So at Pho Y the tai meat sitting in the hot broth is a little tough/dry. Also, I recently realized that most pho houses, like Pho Y, use eye of round, but I like the places like Dac Phuc that use a different cut that's more like sirloin: it's soft and wavy and more juicy than eye of round.

The fatty brisket here was strange. There were 3 thin, creamy yellow, rippled rectangles that I thought were slices of pure fat, but when I bit into one, it was very tough/chewy. I didn't like the texture nor the faint smell so I fished them all out. The one piece of tendon was a small block that came apart into layers. It was so soft I couldn't tell if a couple of the layers were fat or tendon.

So overall while I really liked the broth, the meats fall pretty low in my preferences. The noodles are on the soft side, not the chewy side, but I don't prefer one or the other. I like that you get a fat wedge of lime, not lemon, and the sawtooth and basil herbs looked fresh even if I didn't use them much.

It's better than Beef Noodle #1 across the street. I'd return if in the area (and I'd avoid the fatty brisket), but I like Dac Phuc in SJ and Pho Binh in Sunnyvale better.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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