When Suzuran closed down, I was eagerly waiting to try its Vietnamese replacement - Pho U & Me. I was not disappointed. Their soup is great. I've had it several times and the broth is a bit different each time - some days more salty, some days less salty, some days it has a different combination of spices. While some might call this inconsistent, I call this authentic soup. They clearly make their broth from scratch and don't use MSG, so you can actually taste the subtle differences in their broth from day to day. The noodles are good and just the right amount, and the rare beef slices are tender. The beef flank and tendon are a bit chewy and the beef balls are about the same as anywhere that serves pho, so I recommend sticking to the rare beef soup. They give a side of fresh bean sprouts and lime wedges and occasionally provide Thai basil leaves but not every time. I think if enough people asked they would probably get some more. The tables all have the standard sriracha and hoisin sauces along with chili oil. All in all, this is the best noodle soup of any variety you will find in Prince George. The regular size is enough for one person and the large is huge - enough for 2 or 3 depending on the appetites.
Anyway, enough about the soup. The decor inside is really nice. I like how they've changed the look from when it was Suzuran. The wall waterfall fountain is really nice, and the plants and painting color scheme are nicely chosen and provide a serene atmosphere. There is an LCD TV on the wall fountain side that is not distracting, and they let us watch the final 2 periods of a hockey game with the volume up. The service is very friendly. The lady server is nice and easy to understand, and the cooks are also friendly and will offer sauces or condiments at your table if you request them.
The other menu items are impressive. Limited variety, but what is there is very good Asian cuisine. The salad rolls with peanut sauce are always fresh and tasty. The main dishes mostly consist of a mound of rice (probably from inverting a bowl of rice so they can control their portions) sprinkled with dried parsley and some very tasty meat in sauce next to it. Their sauces are extremely tasty - several notches better than the standard Asian food in PG. You want pepper beef? Their pepper beef is PEPPERY. No bull. You want coconut cream chicken? Their coconut cream chicken is very rich and creamy. Whatever I order always tastes exactly how I'd want it to taste. Their chef is spot-on in this regard.
Vegetarian choices are limited to a creamy asparagus dish and a tofu dish, but I suspect they might be using chicken broth in the tofu dish so serious vegetarians should inquire first. You can also get the salad rolls without shrimp if you ask. The Vietnamese iced coffee is excellent, and they know it. The waitress is always happy when I order it. Very strong French roast coffee that drips through a metal filter onto a layer of condensed milk, then poured over ice. It's quite sweet and a definite kick to the face, so don't drink it late or you'll be up all night.
Portions are good, but prices for the main dishes are a bit too high. I think they should reduce those prices to get people to order more things besides the soup. However, the soup is great and it is the main attraction here.
Pho U & Me is definitely a serious pho restaurant with a pleasant decor and impressive non-soup dishes. I'd much rather go here to watch the 2011 Stanley cup finals than some rowdy sports bar. The food is better, the service is better, and the TV is free to watch. I really hope this place sticks around. Now all we need is a Korean restaurant!!
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