New York Pho
10 Spots for Vietnamese Soup

"Tell me all your secrets my love," Anthony Bourdain once cooed into his pho on his show No Reservations. "My ear gapeth to hear thy dulcet tones." Lofty words for a man with soup all over his shirt. But a good bowl of pho (pronounced like "fun" without the n) can have strange effects on people. Bourdain isn't the only one who's made a sport of finding the best version he can of the Vietnamese noodle soup, which typically starts with beef, marrowbones, and oxtails simmered into a bronze broth. Fortunately its purveyors tend not to be stingy—New York's chefs are known for ladling out generous portions.
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Little Italy: Seafood Pho

Little Italy may not sound like a destination for Vietnamese food, but Pho Bang Restaurant holds its own there thanks to its pho. Seafood lovers can try the hu tieu hoac mi do bien, a heap of shrimp, fish balls, and egg noodles.

Sunset Park: Neighborhood Cafe

It didn't take long for this neighborhood coffee shop to bloom into a full-blown Vietnamese eatery. Now the five-year-old restaurant feeds the locals of Brooklyn's Sunset Park pho with stewed beef flank cubes, grilled pork, or sate squid. Of course, some just pop in to grab a quick Vietnamese meatball banh mi sandwich. Cash only.

Chinatown: 25 Kinds of Pho

Head to New Tu Do for pho and you'll have plenty of choices. The 25 pho selections come with beef flank, curry chicken, fish balls, crab cake, and other ingredients. Slurp the soup between sips of salty lemonade, jack fruit and fresh durian drinks, or orange juice mixed with egg yolk.

Sheepshead Bay: Adventurous Ingredients

Pho Vietnam's bowls start with beef, chicken, and seafood, but they don't stop there—they can also include more adventurous choices, such as liver, heart, and kidney. In addition, the chefs bake hearty Vietnamese casseroles with fillings ranging from curry chicken to caramelized salmon.

East Village: Vegan Pho and Banh Mi

The regulars don’t mind Lan Café’s spartan, compact dining room or the fact that it’s closed on Mondays. They’re too enthralled with the entirely vegan menu, whose dishes range from pho steeped in a vegetable broth to banh mi baguettes lined with grilled seitan. Not to mention, it’s BYOB.

Bowery: Simplified Menu

The menus at some Vietnamese restaurants feel like they could take hours to comb through. Not V-Nam Cafe's. Chefs there prepare just three pho—sliced beef, shredded chicken, or vegetable—plus a few stews, such as beef, carrots, and daikon simmering in oxtail broth.

Greenwich Village: Weekly Pho Special

Saigon Shack knows a smart way to keep people coming back: surprise them. Besides standbys such as lemongrass chicken pho, chefs ladle out a weekly special. They serve weekly specials of banh mi, too, which in the past have included a crab cake version with daikon radish and sliced jalapeno.

Bowery: Village Voice Pick

Pho Grand’s chefs simmer beef, chicken, and vegetable broth for 20 types of pho, including a Big Bowl with brisket, eye of round, flank, navel, tendon, and tripe. In his recommendation of a different dish, the charcoal-grilled pork chops, the Village Voice's Robert Sietsema said Pho Grand "may or may not be the best Vietnamese restaurant in the city."

Lower East Side: Spicy Options

An Choi's menu keeps it simple, focusing on pho, banh mi, and a few popular appetizers. There's room for some experimentation, though—witness the sweet chili fried chicken lollipops. The bun bo hue is perhaps the most audacious pho, its lemongrass-and-chili-infused beef broth delivering a spicy uppercut.

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