Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Pho 32: Vietnamese Food Near MSG with a Korean Provenance
After the Ranger's victory, the lovely wife and I were hungry and cold. We took a quick trip out of Madison Square Garden towards 32nd Street, the Korea Town of Manhattan. We weren't in the mood for barbecue, and it was to cold to eat Pinkberry. We noticed a Vietnamese Restaurant called Pho 32 and Shabu at 2 West 32nd Street (212-695-0888), decided pho would be a great idea, and went in.
Pho 32 is a moderately priced, attractive restaurant. Not surprisingly, given its location, Pho is a Korean run restaurant . The menus are all in English and Korean, as are the signs in the restaurant and even in the bathroom. The only Vietnamese I saw was on a bottle of hot sauce. There are three other Phos owned by the same group: all in Queens. Not that you have to be from a certain place to cook their food well. The whole family and I have were recently at a Chinese restaurant in Queens run by a Korean family. And when I was in college, the local "Italian" pizzeria was actually run by two Albanian brothers. I have yet to have a better calzone (and I have been looking).
On this cold night, we both had the pho. You can choose a variety of meats to put in it: we both chose brisket. When I'm a little less cold and a little more adventurous, I will go for the tendon. You can also get chicken or seafood. The soup itself was quite flavorful, but the brisket tasted pre-cooked. The beer is cold and the Vietnamese coffee hot (or cold). The service is incredibly fast, and there is a late night happy hour with discount priced drinks and beer. There is an impressive shabu-shabu menu and , smoothies, and some rice dishes.
I am going back to Pho 32 when I am hungry either right before or right after a game. It was fast, it was tasty, and I am curious about the other items on the menu. I am actually dreaming about the pho as I write this. mmmmmm-mmm. Pho.