Super Pho- Downtown

~Review by Asia Guy
383 State Street, Salem, Oregon, 97301
Phone- 503-364-2004, Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am -9pm, Sat, 10am-9pm, Sun, 11am-7pm

(Note: I understand that Chuck recently reviewed this restaurant for lunch. My review is to give the reader my spin on dinner and to sample some other dishes.)

The first thing I noticed upon entering Super Pho’s new downtown location was a series of three clocks on the far wall indicating the time in Salem, Bombay, and Tokyo. What, no Saigon or Hanoi times? One might think this Vietnamese restaurant is experiencing a touch of identity crisis. However, as I and my dining companions soon learned, this was not the case when it comes to their menu and food which are both solid and excellent.

Pho noodle soup originated in North Vietnam and is commonly eaten anytime in Vietnam. Super Pho’s version of this Vietnamese cuisine mainstay is uncommonly good.  Order your preference from a vast menu and out comes a bowl of steaming soup loaded with your choice of various meats (ours was beef), rice noodles, and a rich, fragrant broth. As if this wasn’t enough, a plate of bean sprouts, herbs, lime, and hot pepper accompanies your Pho that you may choose to add to your soup. It is totally up to you to create your masterpiece with these additions, so go for it!

Feeling feisty? Ok, another noodle soup to try is Bun Bo Hue, which is like Pho on steroids- spicy, hot and loaded with lemongrass, beef, and round noodles. It is unique, complex, and it does pack a serious punch! Super Pho’s version is the best my Vietnamese partner and I have had anywhere- even in Vietnam! Bun Bo Hue is not found in many Vietnamese restaurants (Pho is King), so hat’s off to Super Pho for having the nerve to bring it out and place it before us appreciative eaters. Makes me wonder what’s next- Thit Kho, perhaps?

No soup for you? Then perhaps Bun Thit Nuong will suffice. This southern Vietnam noodle bowl comes with bean sprouts, herbs, and shredded lettuce, plus a variety of grilled meat, chicken, or seafood toppings. A bowl of light sauce comes along for added zing. Looks good and tastes great, but rice plates rule here, as well. Com Ga Nuong is well seasoned chicken grilled and served along with rice, a bed of cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, and a bowl of soup. Other rice plates include beef, pork, and shrimp, and I doubt you could go wrong with any of these choices, or anything else on the menu. I am looking forward to my next visit to Super Pho to prove myself right.


jeff said...

I questioned the clocks as well - it sounds like they've got another one on order.

Does anyone know if they're simply left over from Soba?

Beka said...

Yes, they are leftover from Soba. I remember them from before the switch.

Anonymous said...

They don't have a seperate lunch/dinner menu (at least not posted on their site). Is there an actual lunch/dinner menu with differing prices? I went there for the 1st time on Wednesday night this week for dinner. I really enjoyed the Mực Chiên (fried calamari), Mì / Hủ Tiêú – Egg Noodle Soup (Rice, clear, or egg noodles) served in pork based broth with different combinations of meat & seafood (I choose pork only), served with a side of sprouts, basil, lime, and jalapenos. I also added some dark colored spicy sauce from the table at the server's suggestion. My dinning companion had the Cơm Gà Nướng - Grilled chicken served with steamed rice, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, homemade special sauce, & side of soup. It was tasty also. I don't recommend the Boba Slushes tho. I think they are kinda gross. They add what look like giant fish eyes the the bottom of the slushy. The texture is gummy-like. I also wondered why the water glasses had no ice, just water. I found our server to be friendly, helpful, efficient and talkative. As orders were ready to serve a man appeared from the kitchen and brought them to the waiting tables, making for fast service. All of the menu selections are numbered so you don't have to worry about ordering by correctly pronouncing the item. :)

Anonymous said...

Anon, the whole point of those Boba slushes are those black tapioca balls on bottom. Like you, I don't care for them myself, but they have their fans. (In fact Salem used to have a shop dedicated to Boba teas and drinks -- in what is now Venti's location.)

I've always loved Super Pho Lancaster but last night visited the downtown location. Its really cute, but a little too quiet inside... I felt that anyone in the restaurant would be able to hear our conversation even at a quieter level. Maybe some music would help. Our server was friendly and gracious, and the food was fantastic. I passed over the Pho this time for Bún Thịt Nướng -- or Number 17, as I like to call it. It was DELICIOUS. The thin pork slices had been marinated and charred slightly on a grill. They were surprisingly flavorful and so tender. Rice noodles, cucumbers, cilantro, and lettuce filled the bowl under the pork. I didn't know how to eat it so I tossed all of it together with the light sauce that came on the side. It was amazing and even the leftovers are proving to be tasty next day. Great prices. Oh we ate the shrimp wontons, too.... Yum!


Anonymous said...

I actually understand why you may not have liked the boba here. I've had it several times in SF and Seattle. When I had it at Super Pho, it was not prepared properly. The tapioca balls were not cooked enough so it had a very weird texture to it. I'd give it another try once they learn how to make it right.