My parents aren't fans of going out to eat, but they do love a good bowl of pho. So that added to why I really wanted to find a decent V. place to go to in the western burbs.
I was feeling ill over the weekend, and did not want to make dinners. I suggested Yokohama for their udons/sobas/sukiyaki... or Joy Yee's for their Hainan Chicken (which, I STILL want to try)...but the husband wanted pho. After a brief search on Yelp, we decided on trying Pho Le in Carol Stream.
It's a small place in a strip mall, 10 tables or so. The menu has the basics, including sandwiches. We made eye contact with the young man at the counter right away, and he pointed towards a two-seater table. On a Saturday night, the place was 85% full. A flatscreen tv plays Vietnamese music. Our server came to us right away to take our order:
solid. tightly wrapped, fresh ingredients, nicely flavored pork. well-balanced. as usual, I requested nuoc mam (good balance of sour/slightly sweet, slightly spicy).
solid. broth was a little oily, but flavorful, and you can really taste the elements that was slowly drawn into the soup. meat wasn't already well-done (raw pieces present)--which is perfect. So little restaurants manage this for some reason (even though they describe Pho Tai as rare beef). The plate of ingredients were decently fresh -- typical sprouts, basil, lime, jalepeno peppers, sawtooth herb, and they also had mixed thinly sliced cabbage.
Noodles with shrimp paste & crab meat (forgot to write the name down)
very good. looked red & oily, but it wasn't that spicy at all. definitely closer to mild. rich broth, strong flavors, very delicious.
We found it we found it we found a gem! This place will DEFINITELY hold our cravings over when we go on a Chicago/Argyle hiatus. Yay!
As a side note, the servers accidentally gave us the wrong bill. They only charged us for 2 bowls of pho. Since we were coming from a church service that TALKED about lying, we definitely did not want to just be lazy & walk away. Since our credit card was already charged, it ended up getting slightly complicated. Everything was resolved in the end -- they were grateful.