Laura had a Furman function, so I was on my own for dinner. I was in the mood something savory, but also something that would accommodate sore braces. I was on my way home, planning to do something simple, when I spotted Pho 99. Soup, noodles, and soft meat sounded pretty good, so I turned in.
Truth be told, I’d spotted a reference to Pho 99 in the blog A Greenville Life. The review in that blog was really about Pho Noodleville, but the comment was that Pho 99 was better. Having tried Noodleville and two other Vietnamese places in town, I decided to give 99 a shot.
Pho 99 is located on Wade Hampton near Bob Jones University, in a strip mall populated with other Vietnamese businesses. The place isn’t large, but there are a fair number of tables. The decor was clean and fairly modern.
There were two young American couples, possible college kids, but there rest of the patrons were Vietnamese. I always take it as a good sign that a particular ethnicity patronizes a restaurant with that food from that country.
While it doesn’t have a 35 page menu like on of the other Vietnamese places in town, the menu is quite extensive. It can be broken down in to several groups – pho, two types of rice dishes, and a couple of types of of noodles. I don’t pretend to be even slightly familiar with Vietnamese food, so I can’t really comment on the dishes. Prices ranged from $6.50 and up.
Not knowing anything about Vietnamese, I ordered the first pho dish on the menu – “Beef broth with thin sliced raw premium tenderloin.” Yep, you read that right – raw. Don’t worry, though. This isn’t some weird sushi or steak tartar. The broth comes out very hot and the meat cooks as it sits in the broth, very much like Chinese hot pot.
The broth was quite savory. I added a touch of red sauce to spice it up a bit, along with a few bean sprouts. The noodles were light and cooked to perfection. They separated easily, and were no problem to manage. The meat itself was tender, and did, in fact cook through thoroughly in the hot broth.
Service was passable. I was waited on quickly, and the food did come out in a reasonable amount of time. Beyond that, though, the waiter offered no help with the menu, nor did he come back to check on me or offer to refill my water.
All in all it was quite good and quite filling. I must say that the flavors were the best of all of the Vietnamese Pho places I’ve tried in Greenville. The food is relatively inexpensive. Service was a bit lacking, but I’m hoping that the waiter was just having an off night. He seemed to be very attentive to the other patrons. Pho 99 may be one of those places that you just drive past, but it’s worth a try.