I Luv Pho. Really, I do. And this is one of those places you can go to anytime of the night. Sleepless nights? Late nights? They’re open 24 hours. Well, except on Mondays. Opened a mere three months ago, the place gets packed especially at night. And to think the place is huge!
Funny how Cantonese places in the city have Vietnamese cooks (Canton House — not Canton Cooks, Happy Valley, Oriental Pearl), Vietnamese places have Chinese cooks (this one), and some have both (Wong Kee). I came here in the middle of the afternoon during staff lunch and I swear I heard the chef speak Cantonese. I know, most Vietnamese are also Chinese (thanks to a thousand years of colonialism) and the Chinese are everywhere, right? Anyway, the measuring stick for any Vietnamese restaurant is the pho. I can name only 3 places that make the best pho in Atlanta. It isn’t your “where-have-I-been” kind of broth here, but it’s tasty enough. The flavors are all there but the overall taste is pretty thin. Every bowl, however, is loaded with lots of meat and it’s amazing that the meat to noodles ratio is quite high. Good enough for late and sleepless nights, if anything else.
My favorite Vietnamese dish is the Bo Kho. It’s a beef stew flavored with tomato paste, lemon grass, curry powder, and the tiniest hints of cinnamon and star anise. The consistency should be thickish and not soupy. It’s a stew, after all. The version here is passable but the soupiness turned me off a bit. It’s still a good soup if you can get the stew concept out of you mind. Plus, it’s hearty, with lots of tender beef. I like eating mine with a toasted baguette.
Incidentally, did you know? I can never erase this bad memory from my mind. When I was young (before I was 10 I think), we went to Saigon to visit an uncle who was teaching college Agriculture. I saw all these sweaty, old men in bicycles all over the city delivering baguettes. They had the unwrapped baguettes underneath their armpits. Yeah. I’ve been scarred ever since.
Other notable dishes on the menu include the grilled BBQ pork rolls (wrapped in rice paper). The bbq pork is really delicious and there’s a lot of fresh mint and cilantro in the filling. The rice plates come with your choice of meat plus salad, bean curd, egg cake or spring roll. Get these if you’re feeling famished. The vermicelli bowls are equally good. One last thing. I wish they’d use more flavor powder in their bubble teas. They taste weak.
Located in the corner of Britt Rd. and Jimmy Carter Blvd. behind the gasoline station.
I Luv Pho
4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd Suite 133-B
Norcross, GA 30093
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