Hardly a weekend goes by without us starting a day with a meal built around Phở Bò, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup featuring various cuts of beef, noodles made from rice and garnishes of Asian basil, mint or cilantro leaves, lime, and bean sprouts added by the diner to his or her taste. It may seem to some like an odd breakfast food…but its our breakfast food of choice.
And, to a very real extent Phở has become a Phở-nomenon. It is to the California ethnic dining scene what Sushi was in the 80s and Dim Sum in the 90s. Where less than a decade ago it would have been difficult to find a Phở Restaurant in San Diego there are now dozens. And Orange County’s silly with them.
Phuong Trang Restaurant on Convoy Street in Kearney Mesa is one of San Diego’s better offerings. Usually when we go to a new Phở house we order the classic mixed Phở Bò featuring the rich and beefy broth, rice noodles with slices of rare steak, well-done brisket, flank, tendon, and tripe. Phuong Trang’s was quite good. The broth was indeed rich and the noodles, while not exceptional, were tasty. One of my favorite parts of mixed Phở is the tendons. Phuong Trang’s were inconsistent though. While some were thick and tough, others had that rich, unctuous, falling-apart-in-your mouth sensation. Those were worth it all.
But, perhaps the best thing we had at Phuong Trang was the appetizer Bo Bia, a spring roll type of rice paper wrap dish filled with shrimp, pork, lettuce, mint, bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles. The dish is served with peanut-based sauce with julienned carrots.
All in all, I highly recommend Phuong Trang. We will be back.