You don’t have to be Asian to love good pho. Though eating pho does require some Asian skills: the ability to eat hot noodles in an under air conditioned room, a brave disregard for the letter grade on the front door, and a trip to the ATM, because chances are they don’t take plastic.
The menus are also dime a dozen. I’ve found that ordering “number one” have been a very safe bet.
So when’s someone going to mix it up? Not necessarily move up market, just repackage Vietnam cuisine with more marketability. Surprisingly, you’ll find such shop on in Long Island City.
The restaurant’s small, unassuming, but retains a playful vibe. After inquiring about their credit card acceptance, I sat down and noticed that… there’s no “number one”. This menu is structured, oh my.
I started the meal with the longest and most complex looking item on the menu, which read “Papaya and Shrimp Salad with Basil leaves, Tomato in Chili lime Vinaigrette, with Peanuts and Fried Shallots”. No wonder they don’t need numbers, these menus are not only structured by descriptive. For an extremely reasonable $7, this salad packed a whole lot of ingredients, and an even bigger dose of flavor. I was especially fond of the way the basil’s aroma cut into the sweet and sour tastes.
As the restaurant calls itself a Noodle Store on the awning, I had to try the pho. While it was certainly tempting to try the “Super Bowl”, which is like a surf and turf in broth, I decided for the simpler pho beef with oxtail broth. Number one in the noodle section, old habits die hard.
Before I took my first sip, I was already impressed by how neat the small plate of bean sprouts were, and how delicately the beef slices floated on the soup. There was plating involved, what a nouveau concept. The tastes backed up the attractive layout. This is easily one of the best tasting bowls of Pho in New York.
What does this rating mean?
From the Notebook: The restaurant is affiliated with Tuk Tuk, the Thai eatery in LIC, which I plan to check out soon. The restaurant has a bar, but no alcoholic cocktails. I wished the pho had tripe…
551 47th Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101