When I want a fast, convenient, tasty meal that not only warms and soothes me, but also fills me up without burning a hole in my pocket, chances are good that I'm headed for the Pho Nguyen Vietnamese Restaurant in Milpitas for a steaming hot bowl of pho (thin rice noodles served in beef broth with thin cuts of beef or chicken).
This place has only been open a few years but has already gained quite a following - and for good reason. The place is clean and well lit (which runs counter to the theory held by some people that one has to go to the older, dirtier, and more run-down places to experience good pho). Service is fast and friendly (the staff seems to get a kick out of me practicing my broken Vietnamese on them, and have even on occasion taught me some new words ;-) And of course the food is deliciously satisfying.
I usually get a large (and I do mean large - as in freaking HUGE!!) bowl of item #1. That's the House Special pho which contains just about all the different cuts of beef imaginable - steak, flank, tendon, tripe, and more. I usually have them throw in some meatballs too for good measure:
The delicately sliced meat is fresh and tender, topped with green and white onions and other garnishes which add a lively touch. The silky smooth noodles bathe in a pool of steaming hot broth which is the heart and soul of good pho. The broth is not overwhelmingly rich, but rather delivers a smooth and subtle flavor that tenderly orchestrates feathery light tinges of sweet, sour, and salty tastes with the intoxicating aroma of fragrant herbs and spices. A side dish of cilantro, basil leaves, lime, peppers, and bean sprouts is provided for one to mix in with the broth and fine-tune it even more to one's liking:
The rice plates are also quite good, as evidenced by this combination of shredded pork, pork chops, and egg cake:
The pork chops are pleasing to both eyes and palate as the light seasoning and juicy, tender, chewiness live up to the promise of its golden brown crust. The egg cakes are also particularly good - with a slightly spicy edge complementing the salty traces of seafood embedded within. It's good stuff like this that keeps me coming back to this place again and again.
275 W Calaveras Blvd
Milpitas, CA 95035