Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pho Viet

7923 Blondo Street
(402) 393-3111
Open Mon–Thurs 11–9:30, Fri & Sat 11–10, Sun 11–9

Meatball Pho ($8.50)
What lies beneath the murky broth besides a clump of limp rice noodles?

I never considered myself an expert on pho. That is, until that one time I helped make it over a year ago. After cruisin' the trusty Internet for the best recipe and going clear out of my way to the 76th Street Asian market to get certain spices, I feel like, you know, I've been there. I get it. 

Seriously though, I did learn the importance of star anise and cardamom, of coriander and fennel. The delight of these aromatics is, I think, largely why pho is sworn to be one of the greatest comfort foods out there. It's ideal for a long, leisurely weekend meal with friends, when there's sufficient time to pack the entire bowl — noodles and all — bit by bit into your swelling stomach cavity. 

At Pho Viet, the broth didn't have much evidence of any of those spices. It was a curious deep brown, somewhat darker and than usual, and didn't smell or taste much different from the free-with-your-meal soup from the two-star Chinese joint down the street you only dared to dine at because it snowed a bunch. 

Bottom line: without abundant aromatics, pho is just not that special.

Sliced beef pho with the accompaniments. Sure, it's the dead of winter, but can you please only serve me spritely looking basil, perky bean sprouts, and jalapeño slices fit for a Taco Bell commercial shoot, please?

The family running the place, on the other hand, was special. They seemed extremely concerned about whether we were pissed because their baby let loose on the crying while they were in the midst of preparing meals for us and three other tables. Note to self to try to shed that "uptight asshole" look I must be giving off. Fact is, it's hard to deny the intimate magic of a family-owned restaurant, built by a hopeful outlook and a bunch of secondhand stuff strung together on a tight budget — whimpering infant and all. 

Egg rollz ($2.99):
Damn solid.

I might go back and try a banh mi—the other Vietnamese dish people like myself claim to know shit about. And I am especially happy to have had the chance to dine in this state-of-the-art strip mall that's remarkably easy on the eyes.

Still on the search for great pho east of 168th and Harrison. And hoping you'll still try this one, because it's possible they had an "off" day, and because I don't want to be even remotely responsible for the nice family going under because Fatty didn't taste enough spices in her broth. 

In a sea of bright yellow signage spanning the entire shopping center (I mean seriously, have you been there?), this one clearly has the most draw of the bunch, thanks to the seaming soup bowl icon off to the side.
Image borrowed from the Pho Viet Facebook page.


  1. Hi there,

    I stumbled across your blog, and I am so glad I did! As a fellow foodie, I can appreciate a good meal here in Omaha. I’m new in town, so this is actually pretty helpful to me. I have been struggling to find great eats, especially something like Vietnamese food. Your pictures make me want to head over right now!

    I recently moved to Omaha, and I really do like it here. But finding exotic or foreign foods has not been easy, and it’s really what my wife and I enjoy. And I have to say that your write up of Big Mama’s also peaked my interest. Now I have so many great looking places to check out.

    So thanks for all these recommendations! They are very much appreciated!



    1. Thank you for the feedback! The good stuff is out there—you just have to look for it!