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Pho Basil (JP Review)


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Our friends Annie and Jay went to Pho Basil on Wednesday and told Abby about it on Thursday. Well, don't you know we just had to go try it out ourselves on Thursday. It was freezing cold outside, and nothing is better to warm you up than a nice big bowl of pho.

Located on Mass Ave, right before Boylston in an area that I have not frequented that often. There are tons of ethnic cuisines here, but we normally pass by because parking is a pain in this area and it's a little bit of a walk from where we live. Well, it'd be like 15-20 mins, but we are lazy.

It must have been our lucky night though, because we found parking right in front of Pho Basil. As you walk you, you see a very clean and modern dining area. As we were sitting down, I noticed right away that the tables don't have the typical Vietnamese pho look. Meaning the collection of chopsticks, spoons and condiment rack is missing. Sirachai and hoisen sauce were present along with a fork and knife. I read on yelp that Pho Basil was mainly a Thai place that served Vietnamese food, and looking at the menu proved me correct. While there were quite a bit of Vietnamese dishes on the menu, it just felt more like a Thai offering. Probably because the students in the area are more accustomed to Thai food would be my guess. If there is something familiar on the menu, then it will draw in the customers and maybe the diners will branch out and give something new a try. In any case, the prices weren't bad. About $4-$9 for appetizers and pho starting at $6.

We started with Goi Cuon. This is the Vietnamese Summer Roll as so many people call it...actually a lot of people call it a spring roll. (As mentioned in one of my first posts this is a huge pet peeve of mine.) Rice paper wrapped around lettuce, rice vermicelli, with mint and shrimp and pork. One of the best appetizers in all the world. Light and refreshing, served with a peanut sauce that has a little kick to it. This is something that is hard to screw up. Pho Basil, even though there seems to be way too much lettuce, does this justice. A wonderful Goi Cuon to start. The peanut sauce being one of the best I've had in Boston.

After looking at the menu, I was tempted to order the Bo Luc Lac or the Tom Rang Muoi, but since this is my first time here, I had to try the pho. We both order the large Pho Tai, with me adding Bo Vien for $2 more. This is a large beef noodle soup with thin cuts of rare flank steak. Sometimes when I add the beef meatball to the order, only one or two are added...here Pho Basil added like 4 or 5. Very good! The broth was incredible. I added a little Sirachai and hoisen sauce and a lot of lime juice. Tossed in some bean sprouts and mixed it all up to break up the clump of noodles and get the rare meat separated and into the broth to cook. Pho is such a great dish because everyone eats it differently. It's always fun to watch a pho-virgin. In any case, the broth was some of the best I've ever had in Boston. The noodles were cooked perfectly, and the meat was still rare when the bowl was delivered (this is a must for Pho Tai). I scarfed down the huge bowl in minutes. It was so damn good. Perfect for such a cold day, warming me up instantly.

I think I might have found my new favorite Pho place in Boston. While Xinh Xinh is very good on its own right and is still one of my favorites, their Pho does not match up to Pho Basil. I'll have to find out if Pho Basil's other Vietnamese dishes stack up...though that may be tough to do since I'll likely order the pho everytime I come. I give Pho Basil a 4 out of 5.

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I'm so glad you liked it! I would have felt silly raving about it if you didn't like it. I had the mango duck, which was very tasty. I've had the pad thai before too, also good.

The fact that you got thai food instead of viet food speaks a whole lot about you anarchy....

thanks - this was fabulous and hit the right spot - also good that I didnt' leave there smelling of vietnamese food (a plus for a business trip)

I think you don't go dine-in there regularly since it is not close to your place. So please make it a point to go every time you're in
the neighborhood.