Pho Thai Nguyen: fast becoming a Pho favorite
Pho Thai Nguyen is located at 3221 N. Classen Blvd. in Oklahoma City (map). They are open seven days a week from 8am to 10pm. Call them at 405.525.7373.
I’ll start out this review as I do most every review about Pho. That is to say that if you live in Oklahoma City and you haven’t tried any of our fabulous Pho houses, you are really missing out. Really.
We are blessed with a large Vietnamese population that offers us scores of restaurants serving awesome Pho, Vermicelli, Bahn Mi and other treats that are the envy of even the largest cities in the US. I have actually had food writers from NYC mention to us on Twitter that they are envious of our Vietnamese food.
So, I know I say it all the time but, please, get out there and try some Pho. For a primer on the basics of Pho, please refer to our article from a while back called “Pho Hoa: hey Oklahoma City, it’s time to try some Pho.” In this article, I’m going to discuss another fantastic Asian District Pho House that is fast becoming a favorite of mine — Pho Thai Nguyen.
While Pho Lien Hoa typically gets a well-deserved top billing for Pho houses, Pho Thai Nguyen is quickly becoming its equal, and possibly even outshining it, at least for me. I’ve been to Pho Thai Nguyen many times over the past few years and have never had a bad experience.
The Pho is great here. My typical choice of rare steak plus brisket (the P5 at Pho Thai Nguyen – $6.25 for a small) offers a delicious broth and a generous portion of meat that is, I think, some of the most tender I’ve had at any Pho house. They also offer a wide range of other noodle soup options, as extensive a variety as I’ve seen.
Pho Thai Nguyen also offers excellent vermicelli. If you’re not in the mood for soup, try one of these very substantial bowls combining noodles with different varieties of meat and vegetables. A favorite is the BN7 noodle combination ($7.49) with lots of different meats, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts and a whole spring roll chopped up and mixed in. This is a huge meal, enough for some people to split, and it’s quite tasty. Be sure to add the fish sauce they provide you and mix everything around. The fish sauce provides a mild but important flavor to the mix as well as adding a little moisture to the texture and making it easier to stir around.
Pho Thai Nguyen takes things a step further than your standard Pho house by providing an extensive menu including many Chinese dishes, some Americanized and some authentic. Now, I’ve never actually tried any of these other dishes. Personally, I think the strength of most Pho houses is in the Pho and Vermicelli and other Vietnamese specialties. So, I can’t say whether or not the Chinese offerings are quality. However, it is nice to have them on the menu if you’re looking for a place you can take a group of people who may not all want to have the Pho. Why someone wouldn’t want Pho is beyond me, but I have known people who refuse to eat it and if I take them to Pho Thai Nguyen at least I can eat it while they have many other options from which to choose as well.
Another thing I like is that Pho Thai Nguyen includes hot tea for FREE. I usually go for the regular black tea but they have several other options they’ll be happy to list for you. On a cold day, it’s hard to beat a steaming bowl of Pho and some free hot tea.
Two final great features of Pho Thai Nguyen. First, their hours. They are open 8am to 10pm every day. I like this because they are open early, open late and you can count on it every single day. Very few places in OKC are open as late as 10pm every day so this is a plus. The second feature is that they take credit cards, another great plus.
Recently, I had some guests from New York City in on business for my real job. Their flight got in at 8:15pm and they needed a bite to eat. They had never been to Oklahoma before, but I had previously told them about our great Vietnamese food and they wanted to try it. The fact that Pho Lien Hoa closes at 9pm and doesn’t take cards marked them off my list as an option, so I chose Pho Thai Nguyen. Though most of OKC is closed by 8:30pm, Pho Thai Nguyen was bustling with a fairly full parking lot and a great vibe inside. The service was super friendly and the food was great. Our NYC partners were quite impressed and told me they had no idea you could get this kind of food in Oklahoma.
It’s friendly, it’s tasty, it’s cheap, it’s open early and late and you get free hot tea. I’m not sure what else I can say to convince you you should at least give Pho Thai Nguyen a try. At the very least, get out and try some Pho, Oklahoma City. It’s a huge part of our culinary landscape and one of the best-kept secrets of our little town.
Have you been to Pho Thai Nguyen? Please tell us what you think in the comments below.