Monday, June 13, 2011

Pho Dai Loi 2

4186 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30345 404/633-2111

On Thursday night my friends Kelly, Joanie and Molly (whom I haven't seen in forever and is a radiant newlywed!) had dinner at Pho Dai Loi 2. Has it really been 6 months since I blogged about a restaurant on Buford Hwy? If you love the road's great ethnic cuisine as much as I do, here's your spring fix.

If you've never had Vietnamese pho, you're missing out on an excellent meal. At Pho Dai Loi 2, you can choose from about 30 combinations of meat and vegetables, which will accompany noodles and a hearty chicken stock. Most selections include beef, although a few have seafood like shrimp. The meat will basically cook itself in your bowl as you wait a minute or so for it to cool off.

Regarding the meat, the beef is the key - you can get tendon, tripe, flank steak, etc. I got the # 9, which is pho with eye rimmed steak and well done flank. The flank was much better than the eye rimmed steak, which was rather stringy. Still, the broth was good. On the side, we were served a typical, large plate of fresh bean sprouts and basil. At some pho restaurants you also get fresh mint. I rather missed the mint . . .

Of course, the most important part of pho is the broth. It should be a rich, hearty thing of beauty. It's good here, but I think Pho Bac does it just a little bit better.

Another great thing about pho is that most restaurants, Pho Dai Loi 2 included, give you quite the bang for your buck: a small bowl will cost $5, a medium $5.95, and a large (which is truly massive) is a ridiculously cheap $6.50. I can never finish more than a small bowl, and I make a habit of eating everything anyone puts in front of me.

I like most pho places, especially these restaurants in nondescript, predominately Asian owned shopping centers. I like the pho places that concentrate on making good soup, rather than fancy websites or late night party atmospheres. Pho Dai Loi 2 fits the bill.

If you don't want pho, you can also order vermicelli dishes, rice dishes, spring rolls, etc. Plenty of shakes and tea to go around too.

Verdict: Good stuff, but not quite as great as nearby Pho Bac.

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