More travel up and down Highway 99 in recent weeks and another stop along the Highway Trail in Modesto. Phoenix Pho is a small place hustling out bowls of Pho and other specialties. I opted for an order of spring rolls and bowl of pho with beef and tripe.
The spring rolls were fresh and a mix of shrimp and pork with veggies. But no one eats spring rolls without sauce. The peanut sauce was just ok, it needed some additions, like a little heat and probably could have used some fish sauce. Just seemed a little flat to me.
As for my steaming bowl of Pho, it’s really all about the broth for me. The steam smelled good. More often than not, steaming bowls of tripe can be stinky rather than savory. I didn’t detect any stink. My pho came with a whole branch of fresh basil, some lime, and bean sprouts. I added the entire branch of basil, half the sprouts, and all the limes. I also added a bit of the pickled hot chili mixture and the fermented bean paste to my pho. Both condiments were provided at each table. After all this preparation, it was time to try the soup.
The beef was thin, fresh, and tender. The honeycombed tripe was frankly a bit too chewy. Easily corrected, don’t eat the tripe. Otherwise, the broth, noodles and beef made for a good soup. The broth wasn’t too salty and reasonably rich. The recent experience at Thai Fusion in Fresno, where the broth is much darker, much richer, proves that a cook’s mettle is often proven out by the broth they make. The Pho broth at Phoenix is good, but I’d like it to be richer.
I think my experience at Phoenix Noodle House was a good one. The service was quick, the pricing was value oriented, and the food was good. I don’t think it was off-the-charts good, but it can scratch an itch for something other than a sandwich, burger, or taco on my travels up and down Highway 99.