We are spoiled and have Vietnamese at least once every other week back home in Southern California. Being on an extended road trip this summer and tired of diner food, we decided to give Pho Grand in St. Louis a try. It was a welcome change, and we were happy with our experience.
We arrived for a late lunch. The restaurant was half full, and patrons continued to trickle in as we dined. We were seated quickly, and we found the service to be friendly and efficient. Prices were on par with what we're used to at home (about $6 - $9 a dish).
We ordered fried shrimp for an appetizer, and they were excellent! (They were like bite size shrimp egg rolls.) My husband enjoyed the crushed rice dish with charboiled pork, eggcake, and shredded pork, all topped with an over-easy fried egg. Our 5 year old son similarly enjoyed his chicken fried rice.
Our daughters had pho (noodle soup), and I ordered a bun (noodle salad). Overall, these dishes were good, but I have 2 comments about them. First, the broth for the pho had a sweet, floral bouquet that was unfamiliar to us. Our younger daughter, who has a very sensitive sense of smell, noticed it right away. She ate her noodles but wouldn't drink the soup as she normally does. I tasted her soup and agreed with her about the scent. Second, the bun dish came with the sauce already in it. (Back home, the sauce comes on the side.) For me, this was a negative because I couldn't control the amount of sauce, but more importantly, the egg rolls and noodles became too soggy. Otherwise, the dish was tasty.
All in all, we enjoyed Pho Grand. We liked its hip atmosphere, and the food was very good. We strolled around the neighborhood afterwards and had a pleasant afternoon!
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