Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pho Ca Dao - St Paul, MN

When you do only one thing, you better do it better than anyone else. Pho Ca Dao does only one thing and does it better than anyone else. So now I have a new favorite place for pho in the Twin Cities and it is Pho Ca Dao, serving 16 variations of pho and one lone non-pho entree.

Before the pho, we started with an egg roll. A posted photo of the egg roll at $2.75 should have been warning to forego ordering. No false advertising here. What was pictured was what arrived at the table - a meagerly sized portion and to add insult to injury, lukewarm and bland. I can prepare more substantive ones.

Now to the main course. What makes it the acme of pho in the TC? Blistering hot broth that tastes like it was made with love, a soulful full-bodied broth with a flavor that stays. Noodles at the proper temperature simmered to its peak. The best meats encountered so far in the TC. Thin, fresh, tender, and marbled with the right amount of fat. Tendons gluttonous soft. And of course pho isn't complete without crisp bean sprouts, fresh Thai basil, jalapenos, and a lime wedge.

One nit. A bit too much cilantro. The broth is subtle and the generous use of cilantro overpowered some of the subtlety. Better would have been thin sliced buttons of green onion.

TC food costs are incongruous with equivalent offerings in great food cities. Pho Ca Dao charges $6.50 for a large whereas the equivalent large in a great food city wouldn't cost than $4.99. Pho Ca Dao posted a note ostensibly reasoning the increased cost.

Many would quickly exit from Pho Ca Dao with its run down divey-ness but that is its twisted charm.

Bathroom cleanliness: 5

439 University Avenue West
St Paul, MN

Pho CaDao on Urbanspoon

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