Pho 'n Rice
289 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA, USA
Pho 'n Rice Somerville Reviews
Tiny in size, but big in flavor. Aug 27, 2009
Okay, Maureen is usually lax in trying new places out (unlike me). But my theory has always been, if its bad you just don't go back. And she's pretty picky when it comes to Asian places, a good trait that she picked up from me :-)
Well since she's been in Cambridge, she has tried two Thai places out. Both of which were horrible according to her. So since she knew I was coming up, she save this third place for me to try out with her. Even though this place is located in Somerville, it is still within walking distance from Maureen's place. I think it was maybe a ten minute walk at best, not too bad at all.
When we got here, we read the menu that was posted outside. And then I looked through the window to see two empty tables. That was it, there were only two tables in this section. But as soon as you walk in, you are lead towards the left side of the building (which you can't see from the street), which is also like half a flight of stairs up. This part had maybe ten tables tops.
As you read the menu, its a pretty decent spread of both Thai and Vietnamese items. Appetizers ranged from $3.95 to $7.95 covering about twenty items. You have the normal summer rolls, egg rolls, and satays to some of the better stuff like roasted quail, edamame, and sugar cane shrimp cakes. We decided to split the shumai for $5.95. You can have either shrimp, chicken or veggies shumai prepared steamed or stir fried. We picked the steamed shrimp one, which comes with a spicy/sweet soy dipping sauce. It arrived on a square little plate with eight pieces of shumai and sauce. They were steamed just right and were gone within minutes.
I almost forgot, if you ever find an Asian place that offers limeade, you have to try it. Its not like American lemonade, which some people like a little on the tart side. No, Asian limeade if its made right is a party in your mouth. Nice and sweet and just the right amount of tartness. Maureen ordered the sparkling water version, while I ordered the fresh made version. Both were actually pretty good. I didn't get a chance to try the Thai iced tea or the Vietnamese iced coffee. But the table next to me did, and both looked like they were made the right way, served with condensed milk - yummy.
Our second course were the soups. Maureen ordered the Canh Chua (a Thai sweet and sour soup) with shrimp. And I ordered the Tom Yum with shrimp. Her soup was a mildly spicy tamarind broth filled with sprouts, pineapple chunks, fresh tomato and basil, and tender shrimps. Pretty damn good, but the spiciness did linger on your tongue for a few minutes. Over time, it ended up being a rather pleasant spicy soup. My soup was the traditional Thai hot and spicy sour made with lime juice. It had a nice amount of cilantro, mushrooms, and tofu and shrimps. Both of the soups were decent for $3.50 each.
For the dinners, she got the veggie pad thai ($7.95). Its kind of hard to judge pad thai, since there are so many different versions out there. Its like trying to judge BBQ sauce from the USA. But her plate was pretty nice. And man did it look good. Just the presentation alone was a "wow" factor. I usually don't order pad thai, but when I tasted her plate and it was pretty good. Not to much sauce and not to dry. It was a little on the spicy side, but in a nice flavorful way. And it did have a nice amount of stir fried veggies add into it, I was hoping she would get the shrimp one thought :-) I on the other had ordered the mango fish ($12.95). It was awesome, I would order that plate again in a heartbeat. Which is saying something cause I usually don't like mango. But Maureen was hinting that she wanted to try it, so I ordered it. You get your choice of crispy catfish, grilled salmon or whole stripe bass served topped with an assortment of veggies. The sauce was a Thai mango curry sauce with some coconut milk drizzled on top. There were also nice tender chunks of stir fried mango in it. Again the presentation was awesome. I regret not having my camera so I could have taken a picture of it for you. I ordered the crispy catfish version and it was super delicious. It was actually almost big enough for two to share.
As you can guess from the name of the place, it also serves the best thing ever created in the universe - the Vietnamese pho dishes. Yes, I am a little biased :-) Pho is the national noodle soup dish of Vietnam. And if you have never tried it, you are missing out. The pho here is served in three sizes. Small for $5.95, medium for $6.95 and large for $7.95 depending on what you order it with. You can get the Dac Biet, which comes with rare steak, flank meat, tendons and tripe. Or you can get the Mi Hai San, the seafood version of the soup. The table behind me ordered the large bowl and it was huge. But man did it look good.
I should mention that by the time we got our soups, this place was packed full. Not an empty table in the place. And it was full of Asians, so that is always a good sign in my book. The service was great and fast. The food was really good, well priced, and decently portioned. So if you are ever thinking of visiting Harvard and get hungry, give this place a shot.
Part of the Boston (and maybe New York) 2009. travel blog
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