A few weeks ago, Don and I were feeling rather famished after shopping at Ottawa’s busy T&T Asian supermarket. We had just loaded our groceries in the car when we noticed an “open” sign hanging in the window of Pho Thu Do.
Never one to turn down a steaming bowl of noodles, we eagerly made our way across the parking lot. The original Pho Thu Do, located on Somerset Street in Chinatown, remains our favourite go-to-place for pho. The second location opening just a week before, we were curious to see how it measured up.
The moment we stepped through the door, we were struck by the decor. While the Somerset location is a model of functional simplicity, the new location sported much more modern urban chic. Don described it as “bistro meets noodle-house.”
Even the plate-ware and teapots were stylish and modern.
The Somerset location is known for its chipped and worn porcelain tea pots, their lids fastened to their handles with string.
We also noticed that the prices listed in the menu were much higher with bowls for pho starting at $7.99 for a small to $10.99 for a large.
To start with, Don and I decided to share an appetizer of deep fried spring rolls (2 rolls for $3.95)
Freshly fried, the skin was crispy, but rather greasy as though they had been mishandled in the fryolater. Still, they weren’t bad spring rolls.
Opting for something simple, I settled on a bowl of medium rare beef and tendons ($8.99).
Don chose a bowl of medium rare beef, tripe, beef balls, and tendons ($9.99) and added the in-house chili hot sauce.
Overall, they were decent bowls of pho, but we felt something was missing. Though the garnishes and meats were fresh and the noodles perfectly cooked, the soup itself was lacking a depth of flavour we had become accustomed to at the Somerset location. It was also rather salty.
Don also mentioned he thought the tables at the booths were a little high for a noodle house. He actually found it awkward to slurp noodles.
However, as it had only been open for a short time, we will definitely be back to try it again.
Total: $27.04 (after taxes, before tip, and including one pot of tea ($1.00/each))
Pho Thu Do
3987 Riverside Dr. Unit 7