#1 Pho is open 365 days a year, which is comforting to know when I am craving pho and Superior Pho and Minh Ahn are closed. It is also helpful when you are craving pho on New Year’s Day, because they are sure to be open. I usually choose the other pho places because they serve bahn mi, and I am bahn mi’s bitch. Like seriously love it. Unfortunately #1 Pho does not serve bahn mi. They do, however, have lots of other tasty items on the menu.
The first time I went I ordered pho. I think it might have even been my first time trying pho. It’s good pho. The broth is a well-balanced bone broth with subtle flavors. They serve the usual meats – rare beef, meatballs, brisket, tendon, etc. The meat is always tender and melts in your mouth a bit. They serve lime here, which is a plus, in their side dish of add-ins (bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime, and jalapenos). I have also had the chicken pho (Pho Ga – pictured on the right), which is also good. It features a rich chicken broth and pulled chicken along with the rice noodles. The last time I was here it was very apparent that there are many regulars, who are greeted like old friends and were asked if they wanted their usual. I like that.
I have also tried their wonton noodle soup with roast pork (H5) and really enjoyed it. It has both egg noodles and wontons and thick strips of roast pork in a nice broth. I would definitely order it again if I was in the mood for a fun noodle soup. It was filled with all kinds of noodley and dumplingy goodness, and I loved the wontons, which were perfectly cooked.
The appetizers also have some good choices on the menu. The crispy spring rolls (A4) are filled with pork and mushrooms and served with a dipping sauce and some fresh vegetables. My niece, who is a serious shrimp addict, really loved the crispy shrimp (A3), which came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce and veggies. I am less impressed with the fresh spring rolls. The filling just tastes bland, and I need a lot of savory peanut dipping sauce to brighten it up. That said, the pork spring rolls (A8) with charbroiled pork, lettuce and bean sprouts are a bit more flavorful than the shrimp spring rolls. I learned how to make these in a Viking Vietnamese cooking class, and mine tend to be much more flavorful. Probably because mine include fresh mint leaves and a few things other than just lettuce and vermicelli.
They have a very nice selection of vegetarian choices, which makes life easy when you go out to eat with vegetarian friends like I do. The first time I went my boyfriend at the time, who was a vegetarian, he ordered the stir-fried clear noodles and really liked them.
I like their iced Vietnamese coffee and they serve a variety of bubble teas. I tried to get my nieces to try the bubble tea, but they were not as impressed with it as I was. It is apparently an acquired taste. They also serve a wide variety of juices and smoothies, including fresh orange, fresh coconut, jack fruit, mung bean and durian.
Number One Pho
3120 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114