Grand St. Between Forsyth and Eldridge
I realize that many of you Hard Grubbin readers are already well aware of Pho Grand and its amazing food. Regardless, I've been excited to write about this place since the beginning of HG. If you like pho, you need to make a visit to Pho Grand. Definitely my favorite spot for a huge bowl of noodles and rare beef floating in that savory broth.
Walking by Pho Grand you may not think its anything special. Hidden along a row of fish markets and strange Chinatown markets it's easy to miss on this busy street. Inside, the wood paneling makes you feel like you're at some strange Vietnamese ski lodge. The staff is usually very friendly which is not the norm in Chinatown restaurants. Overall, a nice cozy atmosphere for some serious grubbin.
I always start with summer rolls and Vietnamese iced coffee. The summer rolls (gỏi cuốn) here are the best I've had in the city. Rice vermicelli, shrimp, pork, and scallion tightly wrapped in rice paper is exactly what you need to open up this meal. They're always fresh and always delicious. While meant to be dipped in peanut sauce I enjoy them with a little bit of soy sauce and nothing else. The Vietnamese coffee is a strong blend of espresso and sweetened condensed milk. I'm a huge fan of Vietnamese iced coffee, and Pho Grand's is always up to par.
On to the pho. The wide selection allows you to load your bowl of soup up with everything from the traditional rare beef and brisket to more exotic cuts like navel and tendon. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the simple Pho Tai: rare beef eye round in the noodle soup. My biggest problem with many pho restaurants is a greasy broth, and thankfully this isn't the case at Pho Grand. Although I season my soup with only the spicy Siracha, they provide all the regular accompaniments like basil, bean sprouts, plum sauce, and even fresh jalapenos. I've seen HG contributors fill their bowl with every addition they offer, but as most of you know, I prefer clean, simple flavors.
Some day I will get to the other dishes on their extensive menu, but for now I'll keep coming back for the pho. It's the rare type of dish I can grub on any time of the day and never disappoints. Head on down there ASAP and tell them Iyad from HG sent ya. They'll be sure to respond with a "Who?" and serve you a nice bowl of soup.