Pho Real? Three Vietnamese Restaurants in NYC Making Awesome Pho

By Ari Moskowitz

Ramen, Sushi, and Generals Tso’s Chicken are the classic Asian and Asian-American dishes we all know and love, but Vietnamese Pho is steadily growing in popularity. Vietnamese food blends aromatics, heat, sweetness, and sourness like most Asian cuisines, but the ubiquitous use of fish sauce and Vietnam’s former French colonization makes its food stand out among its neighbors. Though Vietnamese Bahn Xeo, Bahn Mi sandwiches, and special Vietnamese coffee (Ca Phe Da) are growing in popularity, it was pho that started the America’s obsession with Vietnamese food. Pho is a rice noodle dish served in a specific broth that contains star anise and clove among many other aromatic ingredients. It is typically served with meat, but can be found in vegetarian varieties.  Here are 3 great restaurants making Pho all over New York City:  

Nha Trang One 

Address: 87 Baxter St, New York, NY  10013

WS: http://nhatrangnyc.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nhatrangone 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NhaTrangOne/

Ironically located in New York City’s Chinatown, the chef and the owner of Nha Trang One are very involved in the Chinatown community. They support local events and engage with the community, but most importantly they serve great food. Named after a beach town in Vietnam their extensive menu features many Vietnamese classics (like the above Vietnamese iced coffee) and some more odd items. They serve a wide variety of pho, from the classic pho ga (chicken) for beginners to the more unique pho ca vien (shrimp balls) for the more experienced pho eaters. 

There seems to be a theme in all Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to and that theme is an extensive menu. 

Pho Saigon 

Address: 987 1st Avenue New York, NY 10022

WS: http://www.phosaigonnyc.com/

Instagram: instagram.com/explore/locations/521582593/pho-saigon/

There seems to be a theme in all Vietnamese restaurants I’ve been to and that theme is an extensive menu. Pho Saigon has about one-hundred and fifty different menu items fifteen of which are different pho. You can start with any of their assorted appetizers, from the fried spring rolls to shrimp skewers to the house special platter. Best of all, their portions are the opposite of skimpy and any entrée can feed at least two people. 

Saigon Shack

Address: 114 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012

WS: http://saigonshack.squarespace.com

Instagram: instagram.com/explore/locations/436690/saigon-shack

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Saigon-Shack-186729354702595

Though there is typically a wait, the food is worth it. Once seated, the service is very quick. Their pho is not what would typically be considered authentic, but it is this creativity and willingness to break traditional molds that supplants Saigon Shack as a new style Vietnamese restaurant. It has been over 40 years since the Vietnamese emigration around the world and Saigon Shack represents this long-time-coming transformation. As always, their menu is long and their pho is out of this world.