Tuesday, September 28, 2010

From Pho to Banh Mi in Dorchester

A bowl of pho, or Vietnamese soup, seems to cure most anything. It is as satisfying on a sweltering day as a chilly fall afternoon. I have blogged about my love of the inexpensive bowls of soup at Xinh Xinh in Chinatown and my first love, Pho Viet's at the Super 88. However, for years I have yearned to explore the range of Vietnamese restaurants that line Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester. After a recent food crawl with friend, Ilene, I realized that it was worth the drive and wait.
We parked in the middle of Dorchester Avenue, and began by checking out Banh Mi Ba Le. What I loved was the range of snacks, food and drinks that were completely unfamiliar to me. I could return many times and still have something new to try.
This time, knowing we were headed to a restaurant, I played it safe and we tried their grilled pork Banh Mi. Served on a crispy french roll, the sandwich was layered with pickled vegetables and fish sauce. While it didn't make me swoon like the Banh Mi of Pho Viet's, it was certainly a solid and delicious lunch for about $4.00!
As we headed down Dorchester Avenue, we passed a range of stories with Vietnamese writing, from doctors to grocery stores to a wide range of restaurants. I had heard positive reviews of many places, such as Sunrise, Pho Hoa and Anh Hong. We chose, though, to amble a few feet off of Dorchester Ave to try Pho 2000.
Pho 2000 is as unpretentious as possible, consisting of casual tables and an extensive menu. While Pho 2000 is known for their 7 (!) courses of beef, we kept it simple, ordering Goi Coin (fresh spring rolls) and Pho Ga (or chicken noodle soup.)
The Goi Coin were simple and satisfying. The Pho Ga was clearly made with homemade chicken stock and was served with the range of fresh herbs that make good Vietnamese soups so special.

We left full, but not overly so, with visions of many return visits to this area, if only to compare Pho.

Banh Mi Ba Le, 1052 Dorchester Ave, Boston
Pho 2000, 198 Adams Street
Pho Hoa, 1356 Dorchester Ave, Boston
Anh Hong, 291 Adams Street
Sunrise Restaurant, 1157 Dorchester Ave, Boston

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