Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tang Pho House - Naperville

Shin & I cannot get enough of pho.  Having it once a week in Argyle / Chinatown isn't enough.  We were ecstatic when we found a place that opened in our 'burbia!

My mom's friend's vietnamese daughter-in-law said the place is decent, and very clean. Online posts rated it overpriced, mediocre, average at best.  We didn't go in with much expectation, just looking for somewhere "workable", in case we're in a pho-mergency.  With our 80% off restaurant.com coupon in hand ($25 off purchases over $50), we went with our parents & bro.

These are the dishes we ordered:

Bun Bo Hue (mildly spicy, lemon grass/beef bones-based broth with thicker (slightly udon-ish) noodles).  Shrimp paste is an important ingredient.

I suggested this dish to the bro because it seemed interesting when I read about it in a blog.  Wiki says it originated in the old imperial capital of Central Vietnam (Hue).  It includes thin slices of marinated beef shank, oxtail, pig's knuckles or pork.  Also, cubes of congealed pig blood.

Richly aromatic, slightly tangy, overall a decent dish.  It wasn't spectacular, but everyone at the table enjoyed it.

Seafood in Crispy Noodles

Because of my careless calculation, I thought we needed one more dish to exceed $50, so I asked our waitress for a recommendation.  She chose a house specialty that's very popular... turned out to be this seafood dish (fake crabmeat?!?!) in a basket -- much like dishes you can find at Americanized Chinese restaurants (and yes, they too charged you much more than it deserves).  The only credit I will give them is they fried this noodles basket fresh (or so it seems), but it was a waste of money, consumption, effort, everything.  This is why I hesitate asking servers for recommendations, they often care only about adding more $$ to increase their gratuity %.

Vietnamese Omelette

I forgot what this dish is called, but it's an omelette with sprouts that you wrap in lettuce (with cilantro), and dip in nuoc mam (fish sauce).  They made this quite well, and it turned out to be our favorite dish of this dinner.

Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)
Ever since my complexion decided to go bunkers on me, I've been trying to cut off as much beef/pork as possible... thus enters my newfound alternative - Pho Ga.  Clean broth, slightly tough meat, fresh vegetables -- not the greatest, not bad either.

Pho Tai (beef)
The broth was decent, lighter, meat is closer to well-done, not bad.

spring rolls
These were decent, not the greatest.

Verdict is... good enough for our suburbia pho emergencies, but I probably wouldn't go back without a coupon (knowing I can get $25 off of $50 if I spend $4 on the coupon).  I wouldn't rave & recommend this place either, and wouldn't be too upset if it closed.

Tang Pho House

2603 W Aurora Ave, Ste 123
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 548-9011

Meli's Cafe