Pho and I | Lincoln Park | Asian, Vietnamese, Thai | Restaurant
Vietnamese and Thai restaurant from the people behind Duck Walk.

Our Review

The name may be an allusion to The King and I, because half the menu at this bright, simply decorated storefront consists of Thai standards like coconut-milk curries, pad thai, and rice plates such as Rama Garden. In fact, variations on Vietnamese pho are limited to three: beef, chicken, and vegetarian. Unfortunately, our pho bo--with brisket and medium-rare round steak--suffered from wan beef broth and clumpy rice noodles, and the add-ins (bean sprouts, basil, lime) didn’t include the usual green chiles to perk it up. Coconut-milk curries fared better: the red curry with avocado, vegetables, and basil was nicely spicy, though the tail-on shrimp (you also can opt for chicken, beef, or tofu in any curry) were small and overcooked; piquant green curry had lots of tender sliced beef but alas none of the customary Thai baby eggplant. Except for undercooked regular eggplant, spicy catfish in a robust red curry sauce, one of the rice plates, was satisfying, thanks mostly to big, moist nuggets of fish. On the other hand, woefully dried-out strips of deep-fried chicken almost ruined the "crispy chicken" pad Thai, but the chewy rice noodles had the right taste even without the requisite lime to squeeze on. Bun, room-temperature Vietnamese rice noodles with salady vegetables might be a tasty summer meal, as long as you don’t choose spongy fried tofu and dull vegetable rolls as your topping. I’d also say skip the appetizers, judging by rubbery rice-paper rolls (goi cuon) packed mostly with iceberg lettuce, shrimp in blankets that tasted of old frying oil, and bland shrimp on sugarcane that looked like plastic food in restaurant windows. Factor in affordable prices and efficient service, and this place--which does a healthy takeout business--is fine for a quick meal if you’re in the neighborhood.

Anne Spiselman

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