Reviews and Such Restaurants Vietnamese

Pho Binh Minh – 819 Sargent Avenue

Having recently moved, I find myself going out and exploring the various restaurants close to my new location. It’s one of those interesting things. Even though I wasn’t many blocks farther away from these restaurants than I am now, those extra few blocks meant I didn’t get out and check out places like Pho Binh Minh.

banh mi
The shredded pork Banh Mi (sub)

Pho Binh Minh is located on Sargent, just past Arlington in a little professional plaza. The restaurant takes up about half of the street level floor of the building. One good thing about this is that there are always plenty of tables available when you come. The table’s are also a good mixture of tables and booths. On my first visit I chose one of the tables and on the second went with a booth.

Pho Binh Minh First Supper Visit

My first visit came at a quiet time for the restaurant. There were a couple of tables finishing up their meals, and only a couple of other tables being served. Seating is done by the servers and I was shown to my seat promptly. My server brought me the menu, and like many Vietnamese restaurants it is quite extensive.
I decided to order one appetizer and one other dish. My appetizer was the pork spring rolls. These came six to the order. They were well stuffed with a pork filling that was seasoned in such a fashion as to really bring out the flavour of the pork itself. Unfortunately in the case of this item I forgot to take a picture of the spring rolls before I consumed them.
For my larger dish I chose the Spare Ribs. The ribs themselves were quite good, with the meat tender and coming off the bone quite easily. I found the flavour did be lacking and the number of ribs to be a little on the scant side. This would be particularly true if you were sharing the dish with friends. There was a nice variety of vegetables and they retained a bit of crispness to them.

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Spare ribs with vegetables

I also ordered a side dish of rice. There was a good amount of rice allowing me to mix it in well with the ribs and vegetable.

Bow of rice from Pho Binh Minh
Pho Binh Minh bowl of rice

Supper Number 2

I went back a few days later to give Pho Binh MInh a second look. This time I arrived a little closer to the end of the dinner service. I took a both instead of the table which does give a better bit of privacy. The restaurant was busier than it had been the previous visit, but service was still quite good.
I opted for a Bahn Mi and soup for my meal the second time around. For the Bahn Mi, I ordered the shredded pork one and for soup I chose the Pho Sate.

Shredded pork Banh Mi from Pho Binh Minh
The shredded pork Banh Mi (sub)

From the photo, the Banh Mi looks to be fairly well filled, but I found that almost all the filling was at the opening of the sandwich and that there wasn’t much further back. The bun itself was good and crispy with a moist and chewy center.

Pho Sate at Pho Binh Minh
Pho Binh Minh Pho Sate.

For my soup choice I went with the Pho Sate. This soup features rice noodles and thin slices of beef in a spicy peanut sauce. I will say that I didn’t really get the peanut flavour coming through all that strongly. However, the spicy aspect of the soup lived up quite well to it’s billing. I wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming, but I found it nice and spicy without having to add any hot sauce to make it so.
After my meal I wanted a beverage. The menu lists Vietnamese Coffee, but only in the iced variety. However, I asked my server and she assured me that the hot version of the coffee was available as well. You can order it with sweetened condensed milk or with sugar. I went with the former. My only disappointment with this is that it came to the table already prepared. Part of the pleasure of Vietnamese coffee is being able to watch the water drip through and stirring in the milk. The coffee was another item that I didn’t get a photo of.
Service at Pho Binh MInh is quite good. Both times they made sure to keep my water filled and came around to enquire about my meal without being overly intrusive.
On the whole this is a good Vietnamese restaurant. However, with so many other very good Vietnamese restaurants in the area, it’s unlikely that Pho Binh Minh will be a place of first call for me. Still, you won’t regret your decision if you come here to dine.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.