Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pho & I, Symphony, Boston

I have had the very good fortune to visit Symphony Hall in Boston a couple of times over the last few weeks and have stumbled on a little gem tucked away on Huntington Ave.  It all started in early January when we traversed over towards Symphony Hall to enjoy the comedic rants of Mr. Louis CK.  I had done some research ahead of time (read: asked the wondrous folks of Twitter) on where to eat and heard Symphony 8, a small gastro pub, over and over.  So we set off, and then, in the bitter cold, we found Symphony 8 boarded up, closed forever.  We looked at each other a little blankly, knowing that the area around the hall isn't known for great, easy food, and knowing that it was already 6:30 on a Friday evening and we didn't have time to wait.  We ventured over to Huntington, joked about the Uno's lit up across the street and then, quite literally, stumbled on Pho & I.  Long time readers know of my extreme love affair with Pho, there was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to have a steaming hot bowl of Pho placed in front of me.  

Pho & I has quite a large space once inside, with an enormous bar area (serving only beer and wine folks- no liquor license here), and an extensive restaurant.  The menu focuses on Vietnamese and Thai style dishes, though nods at other parts of Asia as well.  To be frank- it looked pretty run of the mill.  My radar was anticipating pretty run of the mill fare, but was very glad that they had open seats and Tsing Tao on the menu.  

We started with their Chicken Satay and were presented with six skewers of char grilled chicken, accompanied by the traditional peanut sauce and a refreshing cucumber vinegar sauce.  The chicken was pleasantly well cooked, cut thick enough that it was still juicy and had soaked in just the right amount of their marinade.  Dipped into the rich peanut sauce, it provided a showcase for the thick sauce, in the vinegar it was clean and light.  While I did wish that the vinegar sauce had a bit more bite to it- I enjoyed it overall.

Soon after our plates were whisked away with the remnants of our chicken satay, a steaming hot bowl of Dok Biet Pho was placed in front of me.  I dipped my nose down to breathe in the fragrant broth, and was pleasantly surprised with the clean bright scents that rose up to me.  I added the traditional accompaniments of Thai basil and lime juice, a healthy dose of Siracha sauce and a drizzle of hoisin for good measure.  The scents I had smelled resulted in an incredibly clean tasting broth.  Slight hints of lemon grass, the lime, cilantro, sweet onions...all contributed to a delicious bite.  Beneath the broth was a big helping of rice noodles and decorating the top were pieces of beef round.  I would have enjoyed the beef being a bit more rare, but found them to be well seasoned and tender.  

Since that fateful night we have returned again, making it the spot to hit pre events at Symphony Hall.  Pho & I has a solid offering and is obviously taking the time and paying attention to the dishes that they prepare. 

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