Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
So there is a Viet Street Food Festival today at the Fairgrounds, I have my ticket and had every intention of going. Street food, entertainment crowds, standing in long lines in the cold waiting for food, whoa, I don’t want to do that. I could not bring my self to attend, but my craving for some Pho or any type of Asian was strong, so I did the next best thing. Looked up some close choices, got into my car and off I went. Google told me the closest was Pho Viet and that was where I headed. Located in another dilapidated strip mall, I no longer pay any attention to surrounding businesses, this is not an indicator of what’s on the inside.
Bright, clean booth and table seating a small counter for pick up of to go orders.
I took the only seat left in this small space and was happy to score. I was greeted pretty quickly, by one of the two young men who seemed to be sharing duty between service and kitchen. The menu is quite extensive, and although I had Pho on my mind I quickly took a detour into something not experienced before.
I started with a simple fresh shrimp spring roll, a healthy treat packed full of lettuce, cilantro carrot strips and a healthy portion of shrimp wrapped in a moist rice paper skin, accompanied with a very rich peanut sauce. It was most delightful and priced to please at $3.50 I ate half and ordered Crispy Hoanh Thanh a dumpling filled with pork, shrimp, green onions, served with spicy soy sauce.
Crispy Hoanh Thanh unlike the half mooned shaped dumplings, these are flat and slightly crisp, but the filling is what sets these little treats in a class of their own. These I finished. Very flavorful and only $ 4.95
I steered away from the Pho and chose a combo dish Rice Vermicelli w Beef Combo which consisted of grilled beef rolls that are rolled around onion and peanuts similar to the Japanese Beef Negimaki, egg roll, grilled shrimp and meatball. I must not have read all the disclaimers, living in the bowl with the warm noodles and meat was a cold mix of lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumbers, pickled daikon and carrots. Now I like all these ingredients but was hoping for a hot dish and this was not it. I asked for a plate and scooped out the salad mix. After I added the special fish sauce that accompanied the dish it was vastly improved. The grilled beef rolls were very tasty the flavor and tenderness of the meat rounded out the goodness. I was a little suspect of the meat ball, having had meatballs in Pho that are always most strange, but this particular orb was moist, grilled and nicely spiced, and the egg roll with a thin fried skin was not overwhelming with dough. This large bowl only $9.95.
I like the fact this restaurant uses chop sticks that are recycled.
Verdict, if you enjoy something different, with a menu that is quite robust, please give this spot a try. Bring a few besties, order many dishes, share, laugh and just enjoy to goodness.