June 23rd, 2014

Pho 88, Lowell, Ma

After a long day of bridge playing in Nashua, I went out to dinner with 4 friends at Pho 88, a Vietnamese restaurant located in a strip mall in Lowell.

The 5 of us shared 3 dishes:


Xe Lua ($8.75) – Pho, the classic beef noodle soup. We got the extra large version. The menu lists rare beef, well-done brisket, beef flank, tendon and tripe, but I only noticed the rare beef and a little tripe. I also prefer my soups to come out steaming hot, and this was lukewarm. There was plenty to share amongst five of us.


Banh Hoi Chao Tom ($11.75) Steamed vermicelli (Banh Hoi) with sugar cane shrimp (seasoned ground shrimp on fresh-peeled sugar cane). This “make your own summer roll entrée” was my favorite dish. It’s always fun when the food is interactive. You start by softening the rice paper with a quick dunk in hot water and then filling it with shrimp, fresh mint, ground roasted peanuts, lettuce and steamed vermicelli. There was a delicious peanut dipping sauce. Lon complained that he preferred the kitchen to do the work, but by end of the meal, he was getting in to it.



Lastly, we had the special seafood hot pot ($30). I thought this would be more of a stew, rather than a soup. It came bubbling hot, with scallops, squid and imitation crabmeat. I thought the broth paled in comparison to the pho. I wish we had ordered a whole steamed fish instead.

The waitress was proficient, however, hard to find at times. When I asked for her opinion about our menu selections, I wish she would have noted that we had 2 soups and suggested an alternative. The meal was extremely affordable; $17 each, for plenty of food.