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Robin Garr

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However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Robin Garr » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:33 pm

However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

LEO's Eats with Robin Garr

Pho Bo, beef pho at Pho Cafe, thin-sliced beef served rare-pink as ordered.
Image

Mmm, it’s in the ‘90s again. Wouldn’t it be great to go get some steaming hot soup? How about a big bowl of pho from Pho Cafe!

No matter how much a hot bowl of creamy chowder says “winter” to you, think about the Vietnamese, and all the other nationalities that ring Asia’s tropical southeastern edge, where hot soup is a main meal, people understand that hot soup cools you off.

The theory goes like this: You don’t want to fill your innards with something cold when your outsides are hot. Too much contrast. Better to seek a zen-like balance, and if that makes you sweat, good: sweating makes you cool. That’s why fiery food is commonplace in the same tropical places that love soup for dinner. Eat your soup, make it hot and spicy, break out in a sweat. Then catch a breeze, and aaah, that’s cool.

So, with that settled, let’s not wait until the leaves fall to go get some pho. If you want to say it the Vietnamese way, by the way, utter “fuh” to rhyme with “duh,” not “foe” to rhyme with “dough.” I’m pretty sure the nice folks at Pho Cafe won’t mind either way, although they do pronounce it correctly when they answer the phone.

Pho Cafe opened at the end of May, replacing the last remaining local outlet of the Tom+Chee chain, in the short strip that’s turning into a mini-restaurant row within Bardstown Road’s larger restaurant row.

Bright tomato-soup-red booths and large black-and-white floor tiles retain a hint of its predecessor, but a quick remake with subtle off-white and dark-gray walls has brought a more upscale feel, and the kitchen area is now enclosed behind rippled frosted glass. Undraped dark-gray granite-look tables are set with simple flatware and chopsticks rolled in napkins; dishes are served on simple but attractive white earthenware.

Chef Tuan Phan and host Anderson Griffin have both been at Dish on Market, and Tuan Phan also has Asiatique on his resume. He’s put together a Vietnamese menu that’s a good bit more concise than, say, the 125 items on the bill of fare at the iconic Vietnam Kitchen, but Pho Cafe’s shorter menu won’t be unfamiliar to fans of Louisville’s South End Vietnamese favorites. ...

Read the full review on LouisvilleHotBytes,
http://www.louisvillehotbytes.com/howev ... nd-delight

Read this review also in LEO Weekly today.
https://www.leoweekly.com/2017/08/howev ... d-delight/

Pho Cafe on Bardstown
1704 Bardstown Road
916-2129
http://phocafeonbardstown.com
https://facebook.com/phocafeonbardstown
Robin Garr’s rating: 87 points
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Andrew Mellman

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Andrew Mellman » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:51 am

"That’s why fiery food is commonplace in the same tropical places that love soup for dinner. "

While you aren't wrong, a better reason is that back in the days before refrigeration foods spoiled and/or became rancid quickly in the torrid zones, and to mask the off-taste people started using heavy/hot seasonings (which tend to mask rancidity and promote the original flavors).
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Robin Garr

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Robin Garr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:59 am

Andrew Mellman wrote:"That’s why fiery food is commonplace in the same tropical places that love soup for dinner. "

While you aren't wrong, a better reason is that back in the days before refrigeration foods spoiled and/or became rancid quickly in the torrid zones, and to mask the off-taste people started using heavy/hot seasonings (which tend to mask rancidity and promote the original flavors).

Could be. I've done some study in food anthropology, though and that argument - akin to the notion that kosher and halal bans on pork were related to the lack of early refrigeration - doesn't stand up too well to historical inspection.

Also, the English spent a lot of money sending tall ships to "the Spice Islands" to get pepper for similar reasons, because food spoils even in chilly Blighty. ;)
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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Andrew Mellman » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:37 pm

Robin Garr wrote:English spent a lot of money sending tall ships to "the Spice Islands" to get pepper for similar reasons, because food spoils even in chilly Blighty. ;)


I'm not disagreeing, but in England the wealthy "enjoyed" spice on their food, while in torrid areas EVERYONE eats highly spicy foods all the time! In all the old Victorian novels, the rich had cooks who knew how to add peppers, while the poor boiled or roasted plain unseasoned meats. Even in England today, most of the Indian "take-away" places serve food that is nowhere near as spicy as you would find it in India!

I think food anthropology (like food itself) is an art, not a science . . .
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Robin Garr

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Robin Garr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:34 pm

Andrew Mellman wrote:I think food anthropology (like food itself) is an art, not a science . . .

You know what real scientists say about the social sciences, Andrew! :lol:

Many happy memories of Indian food in Britain here. It seemed hot back in the day, at curry shops around Victoria Station - and all over London - but what did we know?
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Mary Anne

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Mary Anne » Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:38 pm

I go into Pho Cafe about once a week at this point...I have the menu memorized I think...but I'm always slightly surprised people aren't lined up out the door. This is GOOD eats. I'm totally addicted to the Shaking Beef, but the Pho (both chicken and beef) and everything else I've tried is just outstanding. This place is truly a treasure. And no, I'm not being paid to plug Pho Cafe. My motivation is entirely selfish. I want Pho Cafe to stay open for a long, long time. I have to feed this Shaking Beef addiction on a regular basis. :lol:
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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by SilvioM » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:08 pm

I completely agree with Mary. I walk by it daily and their numbers are worrying, and surprising given the quality.
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Steve Eslinger

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Steve Eslinger » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:58 am

I, too, have fallen for their Shaking Beef. Probably the best I've ever had, although admittedly it's not a dish I have had very often. In fact, everything I've had there has been great, from the pho to the banh mi, to the chef's special noodle dish. So, like Mary, I encourage everyone go. Like, this week...and next! Can't afford to lose this place.
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Alanna H

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Re: However you say it, Pho Cafe offers year-round delight

by Alanna H » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:13 pm

I went there for the first time tonight and got the shaking beef, based on everyone raving about it, along with the veggie rolls (requested the peanut sauce instead of the fish sauce that normally comes with it). Got it to go, and had a wonderful meal when I got home. I really liked it and will definitely be back. I can't wait to try the beef pho shown in the picture, once we finally get some crisp fall weather!

Sadly, we were the only patrons in there @ 7:30. I sure hope more people start going there!

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