Pho Week: Pho Bac

To conclude Pho Week, we’ll be visiting Pho Bac. This is my favorite place for pho in Seattle, and I’m not the only one. Another thing that is really cool is that Tom Douglas likes the pho here. Always nice when one of the best food dudes in Seattle likes a place. If you take everything that Pho Bac brings to the table, you’ll understand why I think Pho Bac has the best pho in Seattle.

Located on Seventh Ave in the ID between Jackson and King, you’ll notice it’s blue awning and neon cow in the window. Why a neon cow? No idea. But stepping in you’ll see a very basic and humble restaurant. The aroma of the place is unique, pungent from a day of broth cooking, you’ll notice it right off the bat. If you’re lucky the music that will be playing will be some Vietnamese standards, this only adds to the authenticity. Another thing I like is that you’ll be seated within a minute. In the next moment you’ll be asked what you’d like to order. If you know what you want, you’ll be able to get seated, ordered, and served in less than 10 minutes. Awesome.

Pho Bac III on Urbanspoon

I’ll say it again until it hammers home; the broth is the key to good pho. The broth at Pho Bac is awesome. Loaded with flavor, it has the most nuances and a bit of spice and heat. You’ll notice the use of onions and you’ll be mindful of your additions, as you’ll not want them to overpower the broth. There’s depth to the broth and I think it’s good enough to go without the accoutrement’s. I still add ‘em though. As we’ve visited a couple of other pho places the last few days, Pho Bac’s broth is the best of the bunch. Good unctuousness, but not too much. Nicely sweet, but not overly done. Meaty, but restrained. I love the broth here.

The prices here are pretty good; $6 for a small, $7 for a large. I get the #14 which is brisket, flank, tendon, tripe, and meatballs. Carnivore’s rejoice. Whenever I get pho, I always order extra noodles. Always. This helps because it’s mostly water, some may feel you’ll get full, but hungry again in no time. Extra noodles will help out with getting full. Be mindful though, with a belly full of broth and everything else, you may be a bit too full.

The service at Pho Bac is super-friendly. But much like other pho specific places, can be a bit inattentive. Just make sure to get their attention when you need something. Also, they only take cash. If you bring a $20 that should be you rolling. Another nice touch is they have a napkin dispenser tableside. This comes in handy.

As we’ve concluded what have we learned? Broth is the key to good pho. Inattentive service doesn’t mean bad service. It is possible to have too much fat. Tendon is the best for soup, in my opinion. Pho should be cheap. Pho should be fun and filling. I think that covers it. Have fun eating pho and see you ’round the table with soup spoon and chopsticks in hand. Hopefully it’s at Pho Bac.

  • Monday – The Beginning
  • Tuesday – Pho Cyclo
  • Wednesday – Black Bottle
  • Thursday – Monsoon
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    2 thoughts on “Pho Week: Pho Bac

    1. Yeah, most places will have veggie pho, but it’s technically not pho, it’d be more of a noodle soup.

      The veggie pho would use veggie stock and lean on mushrooms and the veggies.

      I haven’t had veggie pho, but the challenge would be to get that same mouthfeel.

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