The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures

Pho Horn

Authentic Vietnamese plus
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 30, 2008

Pho Horn is an enticing place from the outside, with colorful neon bowls sprouting chopsticks, and the proud declaration: Authentic Vietnamese Restaurant. Inside, the attempt is to mellow the appetite provoked by the signs, as the menu displays a boy playing a flute while he sits on a grazing water buffalo.

Pho Horn | 401.365.6278 | 50 Ann Mary St, Pawtucket | Mon-Thurs, 11 am-10 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-11 pm; Sun, 11 am-9 pm | Major credit cards | Beer + wine | Sidewalk-level accessible
Clearly, pains have been taken to tweak the interest of non-Vietnamese diners in the Shaw’s shopping center location that used to house a defunct pho restaurant, called Golden Nime Chow. You know Americans have been accommodated: when you call for a reservation, the person announcing Pho Horn pronounces the first word “foe,” as fre-quently mispronounced by customers. (The traditional Vietnamese soup is pronounced, “Fuh.”) Health concerns are addressed by the menu declaring “Fast, Fresh & Healthy,” and “We cook with water, not oil.”

Strictly speaking, this is not a pho shop, like the more than two-dozen in Boston that offer countless variations, since it offers much more — nearly 100 dishes.

Rhode Islanders still aren’t as accustomed to Vietnamese food as they are to Thai cuisine, not to mention Chinese. So bear in mind that although all of the offerings have Vietnamese names — some of them six words long and blooming with diacritical marks — all of the stir fried dishes are Chinese, and there is even a Korean dish here and there, not to mention Cambodian. (To prevent our tongues from getting cramps when ordering, all the items are numbered.)

The only disappointment among our samplings was such a Chinese dish, ga xao ca ry ($8.95), with announced although undetectable curry among a variety of nine vegetables, including snow peas and baby corn. The chicken was generous in amount but sliced cold-cut thin, rather than in juicy chunks, in a very non-Vietnamese thickened dark sauce.

Backing up a bit: I very much enjoyed our appetizer, scallion pancakes ($3.95), crisp triangles with a delicious dipping sauce heavy on the toasted sesame oil. We considered having the Vietnamese crepe ($8.25), which had been recommended, a mixture of shrimp and pork, plus bean sprouts and scallions, nicely sauced in a freshly made rice flour pancake. We’ll get it next time.

Read the vegetarian entrée descriptions carefully, because they sneak chicken broth into the noodle and tofu soup. Unusual for pho shops in our experience, from West Coast to East, a vegetarian option isn’t available with the 11 pho offerings.

Admittedly, the dish traditionally contains one or more varieties of beef and beef broth, to which one adds from plates of mung bean sprouts, basil leaves, and cilantro. There are chicken and seafood variations here, however.

A successful vegetarian dish we had was the canh chua dau hu, listed as an entrée but, like pho, a soup. It’s available in three sizes — $8.95, $9.95, and $11.95 — and medium was more than enough to share as a second starter. The mildly spicy-hot broth was rich without the help of chicken, and the fresh pineapple and tomato chunks brightened things considera-bly. The firm tofu was fried crisply enough to retain some bite.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Food and Cooking, Foods,  More more >
| More

Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MEN AT WORK  |  April 16, 2014
    The Pulitzer Prize Board, which likes to honor theatrical gems of Americana, may have been remiss in not nominating David Rabe’s 1984 ' Hurlyburly .'
  •   SEARCHING FOR CLUES  |  April 09, 2014
    A "girl detective" makes her  world premiere.
  •   ROSE-COLORED MEMORIES  |  April 09, 2014
    Incessant media accounts of horrific events can prompt compassion fatigue.
  •   MENTAL SHRAPNEL  |  April 02, 2014
    Brave or foolhardy? The Wilbury Theatre Group is presenting Sarah Kane’s controversial Blasted , a 1995 play that at the time was decried as juvenile, taken to the woodshed by critics, and flayed to shreds.
  •   A ROWDY ROMP  |  March 26, 2014
    In his time, Georges Feydeau was to theater what McDonald’s is to cuisine — cheap, easy to consume, and wildly popular.

 See all articles by: BILL RODRIGUEZ

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group