It's no secret that Jon and I are regulars at El Grullense — the one that's located inside the little strip mall on Woodside Road. But the other night, during our (at least) weekly visit, we noticed that the Asian restaurant a few doors down, Happy Day, had changed its name. It's now Pho Binh Hoa and, as the name implies, specializes in Vietnamese food.
Very affordable Vietnamese food.
Last night, we popped in for dinner. I ordered a bowl of pho that was the size of my head, and it was only six bucks. I went with the rare steak (which gets cooked in the delicious hot broth) and well-done flank version. But the latter meat was a bit too fatty for my taste. So next time, I think I'll ask for just the rare steak.
Jon, who does not like soups (it's crazy — I know!), ordered a stir-fried chicken and rice dish. He also is not super into white rice, so he ate up most of his chicken, but not all of his rice. And he left his side of soup untouched.
Okay, remember how my pho arrived in a giant bowl? Well, to neither of our surprise, I couldn't finish it. But, given what Jon left behind of his meal, and that I only consumed about 50 percent of mine, the extremely sweet server was very concerned when she came to clear our table. She was so sincere, that I admit, it further endeared this place to me. The first staffer we encountered here (a gentleman who may be the proprietor?) was also very kind. Oh, and this place is super-clean, so it earns extra points with both of us for that. And the easy-listening '80s music is a nice touch.
With our entrees and a drink each (fresh-pressed lemonade for Jon, iced coffee with condensed milk for me), our bill totaled less than $20. BTW, for those who enjoy those pearl drinks — the ones with the tapioca balls in them — they offer several flavors here.
Pho with beef is one of two standard dishes by which I judge a Vietnamese restaurant. The other is the rice vermicelli served with bbq pork and an eggroll. So I'll be making a return visit to Pho Binh Hoa to report back on that one.
In the meantime, check it our for yourself — and don't be scared by the tripe on the menu! (Coincidentally, El Grullense offers tripe as well. But the few times I've ordered a tripe taco, the cashier seems to question if I know what I'm asking for.)
Pho Hoa Binh
756 Woodside Road
Redwood City, CA