Pho VN Express

Posted on 2012-07-19 13:01

204 - 275 Slater St. (2nd floor)
map: 275 Slater

This place opened on July 4, 2012, so it’s very new. The location and style is very unusual. It’s on the second floor of an office building and it’s cafeteria. You line up, take a tray and order, then pay before sitting down to eat.

Since the restaurant is limited by the office building, it’s only open from 7AM - 4PM on weekdays, so plan on lunch only. They do serve breakfast but it’s a western-style breakfast.

Being a cafeteria, the menu is limited. One size of pho only (the equivalent of about a medium elsewhere), spring rolls, salad rolls, vermicelli and some rice dishes.

Spring rolls Bowl of pho Bowl of pho
Dishes at Pho VN Express


Cafeteria Pho

It's a good thing they put lots of signs outside otherwise I would never have thought to look for a place like this in the office building they're in.

My lunch partner ordered P1, their special combination soup. There was lots of meat but no rare beef like the menu said.

I asked for a pho soup without meat but with tofu and veggies. It wasn't on the menu but they were happy to make it up for me. The tofu was the deep fried "puffs" and the veggie was green peppers in addition to the onion that appears to come standard in all soups.

We also ordered spring rolls. They had pork and veggie ones so we ordered the veggies. They were 3 for 5 dollars.

Since it was cafeteria style, we got all our food at once instead of enjoying our spring rolls first while waiting for the soup to arrive. It took a surprisingly short amount of time for the food order to be prepared, though.

The spring rolls were big and came with a container of fish sauce for dipping, and lots of lettuce leaves for wrapping. They were hot and crispy and chewy on the inside. From the short amount of time they took, I'm guessing they were partially cooked in advance and put into the fryer when we ordered them. A good start.

Even though the bowls weren't large, there was lots of the rice noodles. The noodles were a bit chewy, just how I like them.

The add-ons for the soup were scarce. The sauces were not on the table. Instead they were on a tray beside the cash register along with the spoons and chopsticks and napkins. They did give us some basil leaves and hot peppers but only after we asked for them. They did not have any bean sprouts that day.

The broth was OK. I detected MSG so marks deducted for that.

It was our first time there and we weren't the only ones. Other people in line made comments like that and asked for help from the servers which they were happy to give.

Likes: close to where I work, fast and friendly service, fast food arrival, OK broth, custom order.

Dislikes: lack of sprouts, lime and coriander, the price, MSG, cafeteria style.

Rating: 7