My mother used to say, you never get a second chance to give a first impression. That’s certainly true when it comes to restaurants. I love Vietnamese food. When I was in Chicago, I lived next to Little Saigon and we’d head over for a fulfilling (and cheap) meal at least twice a week.
When we moved to Wilton Manors the closest Vietnamese restaurant was all the way up on Commercial near A1A. So, I was very excited when What the Pho opened on the Drive in 2015. My first visit to the restaurant was disappointing (the service was inept and rude and the pho watery) so I didn’t go back.
We recently had a friend in from out of town and she wanted to go to What the Pho. So, being the good host, I dutifully took her there, not expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised. Our service was not only attentive and friendly, but efficient and well-trained, quite a change from my previous visit.
I began my meal with banh xeo, a crepe made with egg and rice flour that is paper thin and folded around an assortment of fresh veggies and shrimp. It is served with sprigs of fresh basil and lettuce leaves. Not only was it perfectly prepared, but reasonably priced. It easily serves two as an appetizer or, as I chose to do, one as an entrée.
My husband thoroughly enjoyed the caramel tofu (also available with a variety of meat options), which featured a just sweet enough teriyaki-like sauce coating silky tofu and an abundance of fresh vegetables, served with a choice of brown or white rice. Our friend loved her lemongrass chicken with vegetables, served atop a generous portion of rice noodles. Winter rolls featured grilled pork and vegetables in deep fried rice paper wrappers.
Everything was so delicious that I look forward to going back again soon. I want to sample Huey Special, a bowl-style meal featuring stir-fried meat and vegetables topped with a portion of spring roll and dumpling. We may even stop in for lunch and check out the bahn mi, Vietnam’s version of the sub sandwich, and a delicacy I really miss.
What the Pho
2033 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors,
The Balcony, the New Orleans-style restaurant on Las Olas, has launched a new menu. And is offering a “buy one entrée, get one 50 percent off” special, available Monday, March 25 through Thursday, March 28. Among the new dishes are; vegetable dumplings, coconut crusted shrimp, lobster bisque, seared ahi tuna salad, oyster po’boy and Carolina BBQ shrimp and cheese grits. For more information about The Balcony and its new menu, visit www.thebalconylasolas.com or call 754-200-6344.
Bombay Darbar of Miami has opened a second location at 1521 E Las Olas. The new place is open for lunch and dinner and offers thali style dishes for lunch. For more information, check out the restaurant’s website, bombaydarbar.com.
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