Add Pho Thang Café (815 Superior Ave. E., 216-291-7115) to the growing roster of Vietnamese restaurants specializing in pho. Tucked into a first floor space on the backside of the Superior Building, the casual restaurant takes some work to find; the main entrance actually is on Rockwell, right by E. Ninth Street. But its arrival is good news for those working in the restaurant-starved (but improving) Nine Twelve District of Downtown.
The menu offers the usual lineup of Vietnamese appetizers, noodle soups, vermicelli dishes and rice plates. Meals start with crispy spring rolls ($3.95/2) or fresh, non-fried rice paper rolls ($4.95/2) filled with shrimp, pork and fresh herbs. The traditional bright and citrusy cabbage salads come in both chicken ($8.95) and shrimp ($9.95) varieties, each with shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro and peanuts in a sweet-tart dressing. Banh mi sandwiches are also sold here.
Pho Thang’s pho is delicious, with 10 different varieties ranging from lean eye of round ($8.95) to a combination bowl with round steak, brisket, tripe and meatballs ($10.95). There are two chicken varieties as well, one featuring dark meat and another white. Soups come in only one size and are served with usual accompaniments of bean sprouts, culantro, jalapeno and lime. The restaurant also prepares bun bo hue, the spicy beef noodle soup loaded with beef shank, pork loaf and shrimp paste.
Pho Thang offers the full roster of cold vermicelli noodle plates, with lettuce, cucumbers, bean sprouts, peanuts and your choice of topping. Options include grilled pork ($8.95), grilled shrimp ($9.95) and combinations thereof.
The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.