7923 Blondo St
Cost: $50 for two bubble drinks, 2 appetizers and 3 meals
Reservations: Limited seating, but not needed for our Friday 5 p.m. visit.
Greetings, eaters and readers!
Travel 8,000 miles southwest with us to the tropical lowlands of Vietnam, where the food is fresh, the textures are complimentarily and the presentation is gratifying.
Or, meet as at Pho Viet. Because that’s where we’ll be for our taste of Vietnam.
Tucked into a little strip mall on 79th and Blondo, this family owned restaurant is serving up traditional Vietnamese cuisine to the likes of Omaha. And we’re here to tell you: You should absolutely put Pho Viet on your “to eat” list.
It didn’t take long for Martha and I to decide the plan of attack: we ordered multiple dishes to share, knowing it was the best way to taste as much of the menu as possible.
I started off with a glass of strawberry blended iced bubble tea. Both the tea and boba were light in flavor, with just the right amount of sweetness. Martha stole a sip decided she would order one to-go at the end of our visit.
Although we didn’t capitalize on their presence, we appreciated the heaping plate of fresh basil and sprouts the server brought out first thing. Honestly, we think we just got so distracted with all the other food plates that we forgot to circle back and add them into our Pho.
For appetizers, we were zeroed in on the crispy egg rolls and crab rangoons. And while we had to switch our order from rangoons to chicken satay (more on that in a moment), the first delectable item to hit our table was the piping hot egg rolls and honestly, we should have ordered six. They were delicious — and the sweet chili sauce added a nice complimentary zing.
Initially bummed when the server told us they were out of crab rangoons, our feelings quickly morphed into delight with the first bite of the chicken satay we chose as a substitution. The grilled chicken had a unique sweet and savory flavor, we could tell it had a good mix of seasonings. It came with a thick peanut sauce that Martha really enjoyed.
It was without question we had to order a bowl of pho (pronounced “fuh”). After all, it’s their namesake — and what a multitude of Yelpers recommended.
Unlike ramen, the base for pho is a clear, simmering broth scented with star anise, ginger and cinnamon. It’s made with rice noodles, thinly sliced meat and fresh, crunchy vegetables.
Knowing ahead of time I’m not a big fan of ramen, I anticipated I’d feel the same about pho. And I was right, it’s not my thing. But it was Martha’s. She told me she’d recently tried Pho on a recent work trip, but didn’t consider anything about it authentic. So she was anticipatory to try the real deal.
After her first “slurp” of the well done beef and broth concoction, Martha stated instantly this was way better and tasted delicious. She loved the broth, the noodles, the slices of beef. At one point, she had to purposefully slide the bowl away so she could focus on the other dishes that had joined our crowded table.
Hunting for a taste of nostalgia, Martha asked if we could order a rice plate with BBQ Pork and egg. She told me about a former boss of hers from Boston who was an amazing cook and used to make a Vietnamese dish that consisted of pork, hard-boiled egg, broth and rice. And while the presentation was different than her memory, we both loved this plate. We chopped up the pork, broke open the fried noodle nest with the egg yolk inside and stirred it through the rice. To top it off, we drizzled the sweet chili sauce all over and dove in, fork first.
Here’s a weird truth: Martha loved the chicken pad Thai. Every morsel of it. But because of how much she enjoyed the other plates, she came to the realization the pad Thai was her 3rd favorite dish. And yet, she’d order it again without hesitation.
I declared the pad Thai to be my second favorite dish after the bbq pork. It seemed heavier on the sauce than I’m used to, but I liked it. We thought it odd they didn’t ask us for spice level — as we both agreed it could use some heat — but it didn’t stop us from gobbling it down just the same.
I must admit, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t love Pho Viet. Especially after Martha showed me a picture of chicken feet on Yelp. But I’m happy to report I was absolutely pleased, despite my dislike for the pho. And for Martha, every dish hit home from start to finish.
It’s worth noting that Pho Viet perfectly timed each plate. We both hate when all the food comes out at the same time, as it doesn’t give you enough time to really enjoy any one part of the meal to its full potential. So we appreciated being able to digest between plates.
Martha was real close to giving them her own personal CGB (Certified Good Bite). Her experience at Pho Viet made her eager to hunt down other Vietnamese gems Omaha might be hiding. But we both decided it must be a mutual decision to receive such an esteemed rating from us. Nevertheless, we’re happy to give Pho Viet two forks up for well-prepared food, great service and an authentic experience.
Martha and Jaclyn