Super Pho- Downtown Location

There’s nothing better on a rainy day than a big bowl of Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup). I remembered that Super Pho had opened up their new downtown location, so I decided to give it a try. The last time I went to that address, it was to go to a restaurant called Soba, which also served Asian Cuisine. The storefront is fairly small, so you have to be careful not to miss it.
I walked in and was greeted by the server, who was pleasant. It came to mind that on their website they advertised a bowl of Pho on Tuesdays for $5.99, so I tried to order that, but was told by my server that the offer was only valid at the Lancaster location. So I looked at the menu some more and decided on the #6, which is Pho with all of the fixings. I ordered the large size, which was $7.95 and had round steak, flank, fatty brisket, shredded tripe, tendon, and meatballs. If I had added $2, I would have gotten a bowl that was larger than my head, but since it was lunchtime, I thought it was a bit excessive.
I’ve had Pho at lots of places up and down the West Coast, and this was really nothing special. I like the atmosphere and I also love the assortment of condiments and cleanliness, but the flavor of the soup left something to be desired.
Perhaps it was because I arrived shortly after they started serving for the day, but I noticed that there was no music. Towards the end of my meal, my server told me that there was a salon upstairs and that is why I had heard banging all through my meal. The lack of music didn’t bother me much though, being that I had gone with myself, but it might have been awkward if it was a first date or something of the sort. I feel that music often helps alleviate the pressure to make conversation when dining out.
The interior hasn’t changed much since it was the old Soba location, but there are definitely some conversation pieces there. I liked the fact that they had so many chili sauces to choose from on the table including a clove chili that I took a liking to. I’m not sure that I would go again though; the food doesn’t really justify the prices in my opinion. I went to the Lancaster location a few months ago with a friend and we had vegetarian dishes. I had a vegetarian pho and he had the lemongrass tofu. The portions seem large with the meat dishes but small with the vegetarian ones.
I think perhaps the deal breaker for me were the togo containers. There is no reason to use Styrofoam anymore.

383 State St.
Salem, Oregon


Rebekah said...

Do you know of another place in Salem with good pho? I've tried a couple and Super Pho seems to have the best broth and flavor around here. Am I missing a better one somewhere? I love pho and would love to check out other spots in Salem if anyone has suggestions. I like Vietnam Restaurant for a couple other dishes, but not their pho.

Anonymous said...

I actually quite like the pho at Super Pho. I have tried the pho at both of the other downtown Vietnamese restaurants, and don't like those as well, though they are both cheaper. A couple of things bother me about Super Pho is that there is only one size for take-out, and that is the large size, which is too much, IMO. The other thing is that they charge 50 cents extra for take-out orders. I've never had an extra charge for take-out anywhere else, and I think this is pretty unfair to the customers- take-out containers are a cost of doing business that should not be passed on to us. They don't charge the eat-in customers a dish washing fee, and they also don't charge eat-in customers for take-out containers for their leftovers. Why punish the to-go customers?

Rebekah, as far as other places, Thai Orchid downtown has a pretty good Thai noodle soup that is very similar to Pho, and you can get it with your choice of meat. It is more expensive than Super Pho by a little bit, but at least ast tasty. They also don't have a to-go surcharge.

Oregon Maiden said...

I'm by no means a Pho expert but did enjoy the version I had at Wild Pear a few months back.

gstatty said...

I've been to Super Pho a few times. A couple of times at their Lancaster location and once at the downtown location. Even when it was Soba house it always seemed dead. I liked the food on the menu when it was Soba house, and still like Super Pho. I've also had Pho all up and down the west coast, even in Little Saigon in Los Angeles. The Pho at Super Pho is mid-grade in comparison to all the places I've had Pho. To its competitors in Salem though, it blows them away. I personally like the Super Pho on Lancaster much better than the one downtown because its livelier and the owner is very nice. As long as the limes, basil and bean sprout condiments are fresh and the Pho is steaming hot in a big ol' bowl, I'm a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

This post made us crave pho, so we went to Super Pho's downtown location tonight. I think the owner reads eatsalem because most of the issues mentioned in the review were fixed: (1) take-out containers are no longer styrofoam, but are instead wax paper covered "Chinese takeout" boxes -- perfect!; (2) there was music; and (3) the guy at the table next to ours ordered a vegetarian entree and it was HUGE, bigger than the entree I ordered, which had meat in it and was enough for two. Delicious! I think it's nice when a restaurant takes criticism to heart.

Jia said...


I think my favorite in Salem is Kim Huong on Silverton Road. It has been a while since I've been there, but I remember that the flavors were great.

Also, in reference to the takeout container, I think that most restaurants use the Styrofoam ones for soups because they are inexpensive. I like the ones they use at Thai Beer (plastic), because then I can at least reuse them or recycle them.

Anonymous said...

Dj's Bar and Grill in Keizer serves a semi-secret Vietnamese menu that is authentic and delicious. You might try their Pho. I have had great food and experiences at both Super Pho locations, great people, yummy fresh big servings.


Chuck Bradley said...

Our thanks to guitar4me for the tip. SWMBO and I test drove their Vietnamese menu today. Although about half the items were unavailable, we had a good meal. I thought $1 for a glass of water was unseemly, but always enjoy a good dive bar (duct tape carpet repairs, coasters under table legs for stability, etc.) experience. Some day, when they have it, I'll try the Pho!

Anonymous said...

Kim huong is excellent.

Anonymous said...

Wild Pear's PHO is most likely the best in town! As long as you can actually get service and don't have to listen to the owners loud laughter.