Jennifer Savage / Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 @ 1:59 p.m. / Culture, Food, Humboldt
Restaurant Review: Arcata's Pho Hoang
Lunch rush at Pho Hoang
In most college towns, being within walking distance of campus is enough to deliver a steady stream of hungry students to even the most mediocre restaurant. That didn’t seem to hold true for Arcata’s New Fortune, despite a small-but-dedicated cadre of take-out aficionados. The restaurant’s expansive windows advertised a near-constant lack of customers, both before and after the 2006 fire that gutted the building.
Enter Pho Hoang! Newly and tastefully redecorated, the place brings Vietnamese food to Arcata, a cuisine previously underrepresented in the city’s dining options. People are clearly excited — my friend and I popped up the hill for lunch and were surprised to see a full house with a waiting list. Fortunately, the wait was short and the service quick.
KJ Day peruses the menu.
We shared the Vegetarian Noodles and Vegetarian Curry (I’m the vegetarian, she’s a considerate friend).
The curry alone was enough to split and full of flavor, although we did have to ask for more rice; the small amount accompanying the order was nowhere near enough. For those of us who need a little extra heat, Sriracha and chile sauce are standard on the tables.
We both preferred the curry to the noodles, which were mixed with veggies happily cooked to that sweet spot between under- and over-, but lacked excitement. They were fine, in other words, but for $9, I would’ve liked to be able to say, “They were so good!”
Verdict: I don’t think Japhy’s customers will switch loyalties, but Pho Hoang is still well worth a visit. Be prepared for a wait! Next time I’ll split the curry and go for an order of spring rolls or maybe I’ll try one of the yummy-looking noodle bowls. What I like most about Vietnamese food is the fresh, crisp aspect of the meals and Pho Hoang appears to have plenty to offer. On the service side, we were well-attended to.
Cost: A little pricey, but so’s Arcata. Curry, noodles and two Thai ice teas totaled $27.50.