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Restaurants & Bars 3

New Pho spot downtown Oakland, Pho Long Song

susancinsf | Dec 20, 200510:49 PM

Tried this just opened Vietnamese place on 12th between Webster and Franklin (where Vege House used to be). The menu includes many varieties/combinations of beef pho, pho ga, and a number of rice plates, most of which are based on grilled meats. They also have beef stew with noodles; I'd be interested in trying that sometime.

I wanted to try the crepe, but they told me it isn't available yet, so I tried the spring rolls, which didn't impress: too much rice made them heavy, and the shrimp weren't sweet.

The pho had a rich broth although not as much anise flavor as I would like, and the accompanying bean sprouts, basil and jalapeno were fresh and flavorful. Lime juice also helped the broth. I had ordered rare steak and brisket, but somehow got the version with tendon as well. The steak was tasty, brisket was fatty (a good thing); tendon was, well, tendon (never have warmed up to the stuff but I was able to eat around it no problem).

Pho comes in small, medium and large portions; but the words are relative: I had the small and couldn't finish it: even without the spring roll it would have been a filling lunch, and at $3.75 a good deal. It has been a while since I've been to Pho Tu Do (even thought it is only around the corner) so not sure how prices and portions compare (for flavor, I think Pho Tu Do is better though as I said, it has been a while.)

Service was friendly and quick, although only limited English is spoken. This is definitely a family-run place; the seven or so year old son on holiday break was bussing tables.

I'm not sure it is good enough to be a destination, but if I worked a few blocks closer I'd add it to the lunch rotation. Would like to hear reports from other hounds on some of the other dishes.

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