Pho 89 is the newest addition to Huntsville's Vietnamese scene. Ever in search of excellent Pho, Lady P and I headed in for lunch one day. Light music floated on the air, interspersed with the occasional commercial. The wood veneer tables were paired with comfy chairs. The walls featured a sprinkling of decorative pictures. A small lunch counter was tucked away in the back.
We were seated immediately and after a brief perusal, decided to order two Vietnamese staples off the lunch specials--the Pho Ga for Lady P and a beef clay pot for me. After ordering we examined a large caddy on the table. Chopsticks and wide bottomed ceramic soup spoons were racked up, allowing diners to take silverware as needed. I was equal parts impressed (so efficient!) and horrified (visions of grubby hands touching multiple spoons, ewwwww). I was unquestionably impressed by the quality of the chopsticks however. These were no wooden, snap apart sets, but sleek, reusable sets imprinted with colorful characters. Silverware was on the table, wrapped in neat paper packets and taped shut.
Our food arrived promptly and we happily dug in.
My clay pot was nicely presented with the toppings piled on bright yellow rice. The beef had the granular look which often indicates a chewy texture and, sure enough, the beef was chewy. The pinneapple and baby corn were canned, and though the bellpepper seemed fresh, it wasn't particularly flavorful. Wilted bok choi was a new-to-me addition, though I didn't think it added much to the dish overall. Sliced green onion rounds, carrot slices and julienned bamboo addet.d a bit of crunch to the dish. A few baby mushrooms were sprinkled throughout. Probably the strangest thing about the dish was the way the rice moved. Although delightfully crunchy near the bowl, the rice stuck together and slid en mass. So each time I attempted to break away some rice with my chopsticks, the entire base of my dish would slide up the bowl, threatening to dump the contents on the table.
Lady P's pho (shown at the top of this post) was served in a prettily patterned bowl. Being someone for who cilantro tastes like soap, she was dismayed to discover that the cilantro, instead of being placed on the side with the other veggies, had been chopped and added to the pho. Overall, she declared it fairly average.
With cheerful, prompt service, the dining experience at Pho #89 was pleasant. The food however, was average. It would be plenty serviceable if you were out that way and had a hankering for Vietnamese, but if I'm deliberately seeking Vietnamese, I'll point my car elsewhere.
Total price for the meal: $9.48 (included one beef clay pot lunch special and one soft drink)