It finally feels like fall, which means pho season is underway. And now there are even more options in New York to give in to your Vietnamese noodle soup cravings. Lately the trend in pho seems to be fancier bowls with higher quality ingredients and cleaner flavors than what you would find at a more traditional place, a function of the second generation updating the recipes of their relatives for the modern palate.
Madam Vo, like Bunker and Hanoi House, is one of the new wave of hip and modern Vietnamese restaurants that have recently opened up in the city. The vibe inside is made lively by the presence and chatter of mostly Millennial guests sharing large bowls of noodles and plates of starters like bahn xeo and spring rolls. Speaking of which, the bahn xeo we had was a little heavy handed with the seasoning. There was almost a cheese-like quality about it, as if the egg were sprinkled in Cheez-It powder, which was offputting. I would say you can probably skip this one when considering starters.
The beef pho, on the other hand, is something that should be ordered on every visit. The broth is brimming with flavor and expertly skimmed of much of the fat, resulting in a very clean and pleasant soup base. The pieces of meat that are in the soup are excellent on their own, and in fact, we took our extra order of short rib to go and happily ate that as an entree at a later time.
The pho may be the star, but the other protein entrees are worth a try. If you like sizzling meat in the manner of juicy, seasoned fajitas or saikoro steak, then you’ll love the bo luc lac, a seared ribeye that comes hot on a cast-iron plate with a fried egg. It’s a lot of meat to handle if you order both the bo luc lac and the beef noodle soup, but at this caliber and quality, it’s never too much of a good thing.
212 E 10th St (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003