The lead up to Christmas is one of my busy times as a priest. In addition to added services, I have a few more visits to make as opposed to the rest of the year. Being out and about more than usual, I try to fit in stops at some restaurants that I haven’t hit before. One such place is Pho Yo Vietnamese Cuisine on St. Mary’s Road.
Pho Yo is in the space that was once occupied by Simon’s Cuisine. Simon’s has since moved to the Forks, and rebranded itself as Empanadas and Company.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been by this location without stopping in. I didn’t visit Simon’s until it opened in The Forks, and it’s only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve stopped in to visit Pho Yo.
The first thing that caught my attention when I entered, is how small the space is. There’ only seating for about 20 at most. I also found that the tables are quite close together. Fortunately, both times I visited, there weren’t a huge number of customers so I didn’t feel overly cramped. Although, it’s not a place I would recommend if you were wanting to have much conversation, as you tend to pick up any conversation going on around you.
One thing I really like about the set up, is that there a lot of windows immediately facing the parking lot. That means there is a lot of natural light available. This is especially nice in the middle of the winter in Winnipeg when the light only shows for a limited time.
First Lunch at Pho Yo
On my first visit, I figured i would go with the signature dish. What surprised me a little is that they only offer two variants on their menu. I ordered the beef, pictured above. I wanted to try a couple of menu items, and so I ordered the small size. As far as portion size goes, there small is pretty good, but I’ve tried many larger smalls, if you understand what I’m saying.
The pho is good, but again nothing exceptional. Along with my pho I ordered the grilled pork skewers. These were quite flavourful, but I would have liked them cooked a little better. They consisted of ground pork, which while cooked through could have used a minute or two more two firm them up a little.
The service was good, efficient, and friendly. My water, etc. was kept filled, and I received my order in good time
My second visit was yesterday. I had been out doing some visits during the morning and decided I would like to have lunch out, rather than preparing something. I figured I would be quicker taking the bus, but I’m not sure it saved me anytime. St. Mary’s Road was bumper to bumper as people engaged in Christmas Shopping madness during the day, The bus, surprisingly, given my experiences with Winnipeg Transit, was on time, but was packed from stem to stern.
One result of this, was I missed my stop by a little bit. This turned out to be serendipitous as I walked passed Family Book Exchange on my way. I decided to duck in and see if I could find something to read with my lunch. As I went through the detective fiction I came across a book called Catering to Nobody. I’m always interested in detective fiction that features food as a major characteristic, so I thought I’d give this series a try.
I’d love any suggestions from readers about their favourite food/detective combinations. Please leave any ideas in the comments. I’m going to a post in the next little while about my favourites. These can either be in novel or TV series format.
Once again I wanted to try a few items. This time around I ordered the two piece salad rolls, the four piece spring rolls, and the vermicelli bowl. Each of these comes with a meat option, So, for the salad rolls I chose the chicken, for the spring rolls I chose the pork, and for the vermicelli bowl I chose the Hoisin Grilled Beef.
The spring rolls were quite tasty. the pastry was well cooked and crunchy and there was a good amount of filling in each one.
The final dish I tried was the Vermicelli bowl. This comes with a great mixture of vegetables. You can order it with either sweet and sour fish sauce, or peanut sauce. I’ve never ordered a vermicelli with peanut sauce, so I decided that I would stick with my usual and get the sweet and sour fish sauce. The addition of the Daikon is a nice touch with this vermicelli dish. I don’t find it offered in all the vermicelli I try, and I like the extra bit of crunch that it adds. The meat was good and tender, which I also really like in a dish like this.
Pho Yo offers a wide variety of beverages. On my first visit, I simply chose a can of pop. The second visit I decided to go with the canned Mango Juice. They also offer Vietnamese Coffee, which I have yet to try. Bubble Tea slushes are on the menu. As well, Pho Yo is licensed and they offer both beer and wine to drink.
Pho Yo isn’t going to become my go to place for Vietnamese food, but it is enjoyable enough that as I travel up and down St. Mary’s that I will probably stop in again in the future.