Well, I got excited about a potentially good, moderately priced Thai restaurant opening in Bergen County, so I made the trek to Pho Thai Lao in Maywood tonight to get some take-out.
In a nutshell, it was a disappointment.
OK, let's start with the positives. Their prices are good. The tom yum koong soup was good, with a nice spicy kick and nice flavors. The appetizers I tried, spring rolls and chicken satay, were each good, although, as is usually the case with Thai appetizers, the portions were small. Still, they were priced right at $3 each.
The entrees are where things go really downhill.
I ordered my standby dishes: moderately spicy chicken pad thai and pork pad see ew with American broccoli (I find Chinese broccoli to be too bitter for my taste.) Both were lousy. Not quite terrible or inedible, but not good. The pad thai noodles looked and tasted like vermicelli to me, and there was absolutely no hint of Thai spices, heat, or flavoring whatsoever in the dish. It seemed like it was just noodles, chicken, bean sprouts, and peanuts mixed together. The pad see ew was even worse. The "sauce" seemed to be just plain brown gravy. No sweetness, no soy flavoring, just meat, noodles, broccoli, and brown. Oh, and there were ONIONS in the pad see ew! First time I ever encountered that, and not being an onion fan (I always ask for no onions or no scallions when I order Thai dishes that I think will have them), that turned me off even more to an already pretty lousy dish. Prices were good at $8 each, but the portions were small.
The place is small, and a bit hard to find. It's in a tiny old rundown strip mall on Maywood Avenue, but their sign is small and a tree blocks the view of it from the road. It's a small place too.
Having gone to Midland Thai in Midland Park a couple of weeks ago and finding that experience to be mostly positive, I was really hoping to be able to add another Thai restaurant to my rotation. Until Pho Thai Lao fixes their entrees, however, I'm going to have to pass on them and go to my old standby Wondees (still the champ of Bergen County for me) or Midland Thai instead.
296 Main St, Hackensack, NJ 07601
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