Pho-Bulous: trendy, suburban Pho and more

by | November 18, 2009 | 22 Comments

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Pho-Bulous is located at 3409 S. Broadway in Edmond, just north of Oklahoma City (map).

Pho-Bulous in Edmond OKlahoma City

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if you live in OKC and haven’t ever eaten Pho, you are truly not taking advantage of your surroundings. Our city is blessed with a large Vietnamese population and a thriving Asian District and to miss out one of this culture’s great offerings is a shame. At my office, we’ve started a tradition to ensure we don’t miss out. We call it Pho-riday. Get it? Yeah, it’s a pun inspired by the names of suburban Pho places everywhere.

Here in OKC, we have Asian district Pho and we have suburban Pho. I find it interesting that most suburban Pho places use Pho puns in their names. Pho-Bulous is one of those places. I have been skeptical of suburban Pho for a while now (having been spoiled by the outstanding Asian District places including Pho Lien Hoa), but we finally decided to venture out on Pho-riday and give Pho-Bulous a try.

I had heard good things about Pho-Bulous from many of our readers over the past year, ever since I posted my article on Pho Lien Hoa. One of things I heard is that they didn’t use MSG, which I found very hard to believe. So, I asked the folks at Pho-Bulous and they do, in fact, use MSG. That makes sense as it would be hard to imagine tasty Pho without it. However, I do feel they probably use less MSG than the Asian district places. This results in a lighter, milder-flavored broth that’s less complex that what I’m used to. I needed to add more condiments to the broth to make it really sing, but I have to say, I thought it was very good in its own way. It is definitely a different flavor than the Asian district Pho and I don’t think it will take top billing in my Pho book (that honor still belongs to Pho Lien Hoa, and likely always will), but Pho-Bulous made enough of an impression on me to warrant this review.

Pho-Bulous has several things going for it. First, it’s in a nice location, especially for Edmonites who don’t get downtown often. Also, its spot on the southern end of Broadway makes it convenient even for those in northwest OKC. Second, it has a very nice interior. High ceilings, trendy decor, and clean bathrooms all make for a pleasant experience.

They also have a varied menu with lots of items besides Pho. This is always helpful for dining with people who may or may not want to try the Pho, but on the flip side, it means their focus isn’t wholly on Pho. That’s one of the advantages of Pho Hoa — Pho is pretty much all they do and they do it very well. Still, having some options is good with a larger group or if you are going to make it a regular stop.

As mentioned before, I thought the Pho was notable, though different from Asian District places. The pricing ($5.95 for a small, $6.95 for a large) is only slightly higher than what you get downtown. As usual, a small was plenty big for even those of us with large appetites.

I also tried the “summer rolls” ($2.95 for two) which are Vietnamese-style spring rolls with your choice of grilled beef, chicken or pork. I chose this option because the shrimp rolls were $3.25 for two, which is $1.25 more than I’m used to paying downtown. I liked the grilled meat options, which offered variety from my standard shrimp roll order.

Two of my friends tried the vermicelli dishes ($6.95-$7.50) and weren’t too impressed. On the other hand, our vegetarian dining partner was directed to the Vietnamese stir fry with tofu ($6.75) which he really enjoyed. Oh, and speaking of vegetarians, this place does have several vegetarian dishes, but Pho is not one of them. Despite the fact that the menu offers “Vegetarian Pho” as a lunch special, it is not truly vegetarian as the broth is still the typical beef-based Pho broth. I have yet to find a restaurant in OKC offering true vegetarian Pho.

Bottom line, Pho-Bulous offers a solid, suburban Pho option. It is definitely better than other suburban options I have tried, but its Pho isn’t quite on par with Pho Lien Hoa. Nevertheless, they serve lots of other menu options — some good and some just ok — in a clean, trendy environment. If Edmond is your home base, Pho-Bulous is definitely worth a try.

Let us know what you think about Pho-Bulous in the comments.

Pho Bulous on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Tim Wall on Wednesday, November 18th, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • JuJuBeans says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 8:18 pm   

    I love their vermicelli bowls here best!

  • Sam says:
    November 18th, 2009 at 9:00 pm   

    I remember trying this place last year…it was ok, definitely prefer Pho Hoa

  • Ryan S. says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 9:12 am   

    Anyone tried Pho-Air-one in Midwest City, over by the Pink Swirls location?

    Someone should go there and write a review…

  • Sam says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 9:57 am   

    Ryan, I tried Pho Air One, hated it. Won’t ever go back. Bad food, annoying service. I couldn’t even finish my bowl of pho it was that bad.

  • Katie says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 10:36 am   

    Have tried Pho-bulous and we liked the atmosphere. Agreed on the soup. It’s tough to beat Pho Hoa. I’ve found the prices anywhere else can’t compete and you’re paying for the atmosphere. It’s nice to have them located around town now instead of always having to drive towards Classen. Their Vietnamese salad here is really good as well.

  • JuJuBeans says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 1:06 pm   

    I live in MWC, and my mom loves pho, she goes to Pho Hoa twice a week. She tried Pho Air One, and said that the noodles were overcooked to a mush and the broth was really oily. The waiter/waitress took back the food and gave her and her friends new bowls, but it was still bad so the owner or manager, (whoever was in charge that day) gave my mom and her friends half off.. they should have just given it to them free if it was bad twice in a row, haha! Mom says, she’s never going back when we live literally 5 minutes away!

  • Ryan S. says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 1:33 pm   

    Well, it seems the general consensus is that Pho-Air-One is crap.

  • Low says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 2:24 pm   

    Thanks for the review. As a vegetarian, I’ll have check it out. Not for the pho though, unfortunately.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    November 19th, 2009 at 6:41 pm   

    Had some pho today at Pho Lien Hoa and I have to agree…. Anyone that hasn’t tried one of these places is truly missing out on some tasty cuisine.

    I’ve been to Pho 89 (Suburban pho on SW 89th and Penn) and it is pretty good too.

  • Brandie says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 4:17 pm   

    My sister, sister’s boyfriend (Vietnamese) and I went to Pho Bulous and HATED it. Honestly, this restaurant is crap an you’re really just paying for the atmosphere. I really like Pho Thai Nguyen.

  • Tim says:
    November 24th, 2009 at 4:26 pm   

    Brandie, I can understand not liking it, but I think saying it’s crap goes a little too far. I like Thai Nguyen as well but still enjoyed Pho-Bulous.

  • Matt says:
    November 25th, 2009 at 11:32 am   

    The place in the green building at 36th and Classen (or is it 30th?) has gradually made its way to the top of my pho rotation.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 11:05 pm   

    @Matt – I ate there today (Pho Cuong). Tried to go to Pho Ca Dao but they were closed because of the construction going on in that area right now.

    I liked Pho Cuong. Their broth has a more complex flavor than the broth I have had at Pho Hoa and Pho 89.

    About the only complaint I had about Pho Cuong is that I would have liked to have had more than 2 meatballs in the pho I ordered (#3 on the menu / steak & meatballs).

  • RedGlowX0X0 says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 9:31 pm   

    I have to agree, I find Pho-bulous sort of blah and tasteless but not awful. The decor IS nice though. I think there are plenty of other better Pho places in town that are worth the drive, even for Edmondites (heck, I live in south-OKC and I travel to Edmond to eat sometimes, its not that bad a drive).

  • Cindy says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 9:00 pm   

    I live in Edmond and eat at PhoBulous a lot. If you’ve had the Pho from the Asian District places like Mr. Pho, then you’ll be severely disappointed in PhoBulous. You’re right, the flavors are mild and unimpressive in my book. The grilled pork is good, but the vermicelli plates and pho need a lot of hoisen sauce, lime juice, sirachi (sp?), and other condiments to make them palatable. Why do I go there so often? I’m too lazy to drive down to Classen.

  • Eric says:
    December 23rd, 2009 at 10:13 am   

    Pho-Air-One in MWC had a grand reopening recently. They opened to a rocky start as you can see above, made some changes to comply with building code (something to do with the glass wall), and now they are open. The Pho is okay. Definitely doable for quick Pho during lunch when you only have an hour and can’t drive to Classen. The service is terrible though. Expect that.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    January 5th, 2010 at 8:44 pm   

    New place opening up on S. Western where the China Dragon used to be. It’s called Pho OKC. I plan on giving it a try as soon as they open.

    This could be bad for me. I already have Pho 89 within bike riding distance from me. Now I’m gonna have another within walking distance. I may be eating pho 8 days a week soon.

  • Lisa says:
    January 15th, 2010 at 3:44 pm   

    I would recommend Pho-Nomenal on N. May Ave in OKC. They have great service, friendly wait staff and tasty food! The pho, crab rangoon and stir-fry noodles are all delicious!

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    January 25th, 2010 at 11:55 am   

    Ok, I think I want to open a pho restaurant and name it Un-Pho-Get-a-Bowl

  • Eric says:
    April 1st, 2010 at 10:01 am   

    Update on Pho Air One:

    I got an email the other day saying that this place was closing it’s doors and I should come back to eat before they are gone. Turns out they are NOT closing. Apparently a disgruntled employee has been playing games and sending emails like that to people that post on Yelp! and Urban Spoon.

    Any way, I went in there last night and met the owner, Phillip. Nice guy and completely understands the trouble he had in the beginning with service.

    He told me they are starting a Sushi and Asian Buffet on Friday April 2nd. The cost will be $6.99 for the buffet and $4 more if you want the Pho AND buffet. I will be back to try the buffet. I have only had the Pho at this place but the other items on the menu have made me curious because they look and sound really good. They will all be available on the buffet. He also has $1.75 longnecks which is a darn good price.

    He mentioned that he wants to put up a projector on the back wall to show slides of Vietnam, Malaysia, and other Asian places and possibly show old movies, “Kung-Fu” movies or other films. I liked his ideas. I hope he succeeds because his food is good.

    I’ll be there for lunch Friday to try out the new buffet.

  • Vicky says:
    April 4th, 2010 at 5:41 pm   

    Everyone keep says this restaurant is good and bad but do they really know what a good pho’ is? all the pho they cook over here is not really traditional pho like in Vietnam.

  • Tacha says:
    August 14th, 2010 at 9:23 pm   

    I absolutely LOVE this place.. given I havent taken to opportunity to try the other places off of classen but I have tried the place off expressway next to the Ace and Petsmart near Rockwell, and didnt really like it. Not that it was bad food, just not the “original” pho Im used to. We’ve become regulars here. They pretty much know exactly what Im going to order. I crave it all the time, hot or cold! Even my two little girls ages 4 and 1 1/2 LOVE and request this place. I am tempted to travel outside of my “comfort” zone and try the top couple places that are listed on this site though.

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We wouldn't have tried it if we hadn't seen all the great reviews here!

AJ, left as a comment about Inca Trail