We have had quite the week here in Texas. Personally, I went without power for 66 hours and water for 82 hours. The cold weather from the week had me craving pho, so I decided to check out Phoenix Pho. Phoenix Pho is one of the newest pho shops in Abilene. It opened last fall in the Allen Ridge Plaza, across the street from Abilene Christian University. The address is 2449 N Judge Ely Blvd, Suite 2501.
I entered the parking lot from the northernmost entrance and Phoenix Pho was on the left. It was located next to a nail shop, with a second Fuzzy’s Taco Shop located steps away.
Just inside the entrance was a cute seating area. I am fairly certain this was only for decoration, as I cannot imagine many people will sit at the entrance to the restaurant. Especially with social distancing in place.
There was a sign in log, in place of a hostess stand, a few steps away. I wrote my name, phone number and number of people in my party. It came complete with instructions on a chalkboard. The counter to place orders for patio or takeout was on the other side of this sign.
After signing in, we stood around for a couple of minutes before someone acknowledged us. A waiter then approached and asked, “how many?” I guess there was not a need for the sign in roster, if there was not a wait. He asked if we wanted to sit inside, to which I declined. He then showed us to a table on the patio and provided takeout menus. Please click here for a full menu, the wind would not cooperate with the takeout menus.
There were 8 tables on the patio with room to seat 24 guests. It was a really nice day out. The indoor seating was busy, which made it difficult to take a picture. I managed to grab a couple of pics from my patio seat though. The seating inside could accommodate nearly 50 guests. The arrangement include a combination of tables with two or four seats.
After a few minutes, I returned to the counter and placed the order. The order consisted of crispy egg rolls ($5), beef banh mi ($6), Pho Tai ($10), and Korean BBQ beef rice ($15). I also returned the menus, which is probably something I should not have done in hindsight. The friendly waitress taking the order asked if I wanted steam or fried rice with the beef, I went with the steamed rice. Everything else came exactly as it was listed on the menu. I asked for bottled water but the waitress assured me Phoenix Pho’s water was safe because it was filtered. Sounded good enough, I will take three!
Small pet peeve: the food did not come out together. The Beef rice arrived less than five minutes after ordering. The waitress brought silverware to the table after the beef rice arrived. I really liked this because the silverware was not sitting in the open air. The egg rolls arrived a minute or so later. After three more minutes, the banh mi arrived. The pho tai was the last to the party a few minutes later. The entire food delivery process took approximately 12 minutes.
The Korean BBQ beef tasted of green onion, lime, soy sauce and maybe hoisin?. It was cold when I took a bite, this might have been because we were sitting outside and it was a bit windy. It ended up being a decent beef and rice plate. I will try it with the fried rice next time to see if the taste/rating will improve. Rating: 3.75/5
The pho tai was exceptional. Read: the broth was amazing. I have had a lot of pho and it is served with the same ingredients: noodles, a protein, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeño and lime. This small plate of accoutrements was paltry, to put it mildly. I do not know what they did to church up the broth, but I hope they never change it. Rating: 4/5
The eggrolls were average, nothing special out about them. Rating: 3/5
The beef banh mi was the star of the show. The crunchy, fresh baguette coupled with cilantro, onion, carrots, and the perfectly sliced beef was a hit. I feel this is the same beef from the combo beef plate, just prepped differently. Rating: 4.5/5
To top the visit off, there was a slide and climbing hill just off of the patio. This area stayed busy during my entire visit. There was also a concrete walking trail around the lagoon. This could be a perfect way to wind down after grubbing at Phoenix Pho.
Phoenix Pho is a hit! The restaurant was clean and tables were were socially distant from one another. The entire staff was friendly during the visit. They could have been grumpy after enduring the past week, and no one would have blamed them. They really went above and beyond…delivering the drinks, food, and even cleaning the tables as guests left.
The egg rolls were the only “disappointment”. They were average, but an egg roll is an egg roll, right? The other dishes were pretty good, especially the pho tai and banh mi. This entire meal cost a bit more than $40…unbelievable. I cannot wait to visit Phoenix Pho again.