Sunday, May 18, 2014

Pho Vietnam Restaurant

Corner Brook is a city on the West Coast of Newfoundland which is home to the Krueger paper mill, Memorial University's Grenfell Campus and close by to the Marble Mountain Ski Resort.  It is also a very special place to me, because it is where I was born and spent my early childhood years.

Corner Brook is also home to some great restaurants, some that you wouldn't expect to find in a smaller city in Newfoundland, but would see in larger centre like Vancouver or Toronto.   One such restaurant is the Pho Vietnam Restaurant, a charming little Vietnamese restaurant next to Coleman's Grocery store.  The space is small, but warm and welcoming with some Chinese and Vietnamese decorations adorning the walls.  The restaurant is always busy and full, but the owner always makes sure to welcome and seat the customers as soon as possible.

One evening we decided to try Pho Vietnam and ordered Vietnamese style crispy spring rolls and vegetarian cold noodle rolls for appetizers.  The vegetarian cold rolls were one of the freshest and tastiest I have had in a long time, especially in Newfoundland.  The taste was delicate with the sweet cool cucumber as the main flavour.  The peanut sauce dip was very tasty, but not too overpowering.  The crispy spring rolls were very flavourful with a savoury sweet sauce. 
Vegetarian Cold rolls with a peanut sauce

Crispy Spring Rolls

For the main, we ordered seafood hotpot and beef ball pho.  Pho (pronounced like "fuuuh") is one of the most popular dishes from Vietnam, consisting of flat noodles, meat and a light broth.  The pho was savoury but not salty.  Since I am a fan of spicy food, I added some sriracha sauce and some other spicy condiments to the soup, it was delicious.  This however was not needed because it was flavourful on its own. 
Beef ball Pho

The hotpot was very interesting.  The owner brought out a pot of hot soup broth laid on a portable burner which used a gel sterno.  She also brought out a plate of cold rice noodles, a plate with an array of seafood and a plate loaded with vegetables.  The hotpot was a little different than the hotpot we have at home because we were given a ladle instead of the individual scoops.  We tossed all the ingredients in the pot and ate it in our bowls like a soup.  It is not quite like hotpot at home, but it worked well for us, and was very tasty.  It was also very filling, as there were 3 of us and it serves 4-6.
Seafood Hotpot

The price is very reasonable, at about $20-25 per diner for appetizer and main (depending on the item)

The owner, Cathy Nguyen is very personable and makes sure her customers have a great dining experience.  She has become friends with all of her customers who instantly become regulars.  She chatted with us after our meal and told us about her native country, Vietnam.   I will definitely visit Cathy and Pho Vietnam Restaurant when I return to Corner Brook.