I have been doing more reviews locally due to complications from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and some medical issues I am currently working to resolve. If you have been following along, I have reviewed Phoenix Pho, Lytle Land and Cattle Company, and Beehive Restaurant and Saloon. These reviews are a direct result of me visiting restaurants known for foods that I prefer: noodles and steak, not necessarily in that order. My travels on this particular day took me to Mian Bistro to check out their pho.
Mian Bistro is located in a strip mall at 6410 Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene, Texas. It is near the intersection of Buffalo Gap and Antilley (pronounced Ant-Lee) roads. While the restaurant is located in the strip of businesses, it has a stand-alone address. This is something I have not seen with strip mall addresses. NOTE: Mian is neighbors with The Shed Market, a barbecue joint I will review as soon as I am back on my feet. As I pulled into the parking lot, the parking spaces around Mian were empty. However, the open sign was illuminated. The lack of cars was rather concerning.
My sister and I entered the restaurant through the only entry/exit for customers. Mian is a small restaurant with approximately 13 tables. The socially distant tables range from two to four seats. Those unavailable have a message written on white paper in the middle of the table.
Since I brought up being socially distant in the restaurant, masks are required to enter the property. Mian has quite a few measures in place to protect the customers and staff. The counter, which was straight ahead after entering, was enclosed in a cocoon of plastic.
We approached the counter to place our order. There were three or four menus placed on the table that was strategically placed to provide additional separation between the customers and guests. The process was more than reasonable.
After looking over the menu for a couple of minutes, we were finally ready to order. We ordered spring rolls, pot stickers, flat noodles, and beef pho. We grabbed individually wrapped utensils from another table located to the right of the counter.
My sister decided to add a soft drink, while I went with the water. The drink fountain was located on the left side of the restaurant. This area also included various sauces and the trash bin. NOTE: please do not put liquids (melted ice or pho broth) in the trash bin because it will make a huge mess when the staff change it out (this goes for all businesses). Leave the bowl with broth on the table.
We settled on a three seat table towards the entrance. I am obsessed with seeing or being near the door in any restaurant I visit.
The spring rolls and pot stickers were delivered as soon as we sat down at the table. This was only three minutes after placing the order. To continue with coronavirus precautions, all of the food was presented in plastic, disposable containers.
Pot Stickers ($5). The pot stickers were the longer, flattened, bland version of gyoza. I am used to having dumplings with a little crisp on one side and steamed on the other. These were soft all the way through and appeared to be prepackaged. The pot stickers were mostly dough and very little of anything else. The ginger sauce served on the side could not salvage the dish. Rating: 1.8/5
Spring Rolls ($4). The spring rolls were filled with shrimp, vermicelli and a host of veggies. There was also another thinly sliced meat in the rolls, I think it was beef. The spring rolls were average, nothing more. I feel this is the case with most spring rolls I have eaten. I feel this is a dish that should remain the untouched. Rating: 2.6/5.
Flat Noodles ($9). The flat noodles with beef arrived two minutes after the previous dishes. The noodles were served with an assortment of vegetables. The vegetables were the same found within the spring rolls, just bigger portions. The beef, while cooked perfectly, was scarce throughout the dish. I do not know if they “eyeball” or measure the amount of meat in this dish but it needs to be revisited. Lastly, the dish was bland. I requested chili oil to add some flavor. Rating: 3.1/5.
Beef Pho ($9). The pho arrived in a plastic bowl immediately after the flat noodles. NOTE: be careful with the lid, broth went everywhere when I opened it. The jalapeño, cilantro and bean sprouts, which usually accompany pho, were already in the dish. The lime slices were the only “ingredient” missing. The spoon, which I use to make a bite with everything, was absent as well. The broth of the pho was way too sweet. It was as if the restaurant went a little heavy on the cinnamon or star anise when making the broth. I did not care for it at all. While this is personal preference, I expect pho broth to be more savory than sweet. Rating: 3.2/5.
My visit to Main Bistro was underwhelming. As you can see from my ratings, the food was merely average. I would eat everything, except the pot stickers, again on follow up visits to see if I caught them on a bad day. I am still a bit perplexed from the visit. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it could be that the food is average. there are people who like eating at Mian, but it will not be my first choice. The sweet broth is something I never experienced and do not want to experience again.
Have you tried pho at Mian Bistro?