Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pho Chef - Northern Columbus

According to my brother, since I am a Virgo, I loved to be serviced. Well, to me it makes perfect sense. It not always the meal but the experience! I always take in account service, how fast I get my food (or if I notice the wait), the atmosphere, the wait staff, the amount of food and finally, the taste. This is my first restaurant review.

Pho Chef
Asian Noodles & Grill

 I look at this picture and think, "Man, this looked way better than it tasted that day."

Last week my boss's friend opened a new restaurant called Pho Chef. With the limited options of places to eat Pho in Columbus I was excited to see a new restaurant to try. Now keep in mind, since cooking it almost every Sunday for the past 10 yrs for my husband, I have grown to dislike Pho in general. Sick of it, if you will.

Back to my boss, who somehow has two birthdays because for some reason, when they came to America they felt an urge to give them a different birth date than their actual birthday. Um.. OK.  In celebration of his second birthday (the real one) he wanted to treat the office to lunch. GREAT! Free lunch and a new restaurant at that!

A friend of my brother posted how disappointed he was at this restaurant since it was not authentic Vietnamese. Eh, I'm not Viet but can pull off an awesome bowl of Pho. Boss let's me know some of the history. This is a successful franchise branching from Texas where they had so much success they decided to come to Ohio. The husband is Cambodian but the wife is of Vietnamese descent so it must be good if its authentic!Right?

It is a cafe style restaurant so no need for fancy shoes or ties. As we walk in we are greeted by the owner or should I say our boss is because I don't think anyone that was not Cambodian was greeted at all within our group of seven. We order our drinks and food.

Food Ordered:
I ordered the above (N7 Basil Beef Flat Noodles) thinking it will be as close to a Phad Kee Mao (drunken noodles) without the spice. I also ordered an ice coffee with condensed milk (Vietnamese style).

Its a good wait before the food comes out and is service by someone who is unaware of which customer ordered what so you must know what you ordered and what it looks like.  We were never offered any refills nor additional drinks once our specialty drinks were finished. Once the waitress took our order, we never saw her again.

The customer at the next table never received his food and they proceeded twice to bring him two different soups of which neither he ordered. He was not upset, he just waited patiently while his family finished their food. He was better than I would have been.

Food Portions:
Usually when ordered from a new restaurant they are very generous with their food portions but this restaurant was not. Several co-workers ordered the noodle soups and I notice the size of the bowl were much smaller that what is usually served in Columbus. The drinks came out in thick glass cups that held a lot less liquid then it looked. The amount of noodle compared to the amount of bean spouts I had underneath the noodles was very disappointing. The menu did not look like a lunch menu and neither were the prices so I'm sure this was not the lunch portion.

My co-worker ordered Lemon Grass chicken with rice and side of soup. By the look of her plate, either her plate was too big or the food was too small. I tend to believe the latter. My boss also ordered us the Bun Mi to try. The bread was fresh and crispy but the amount of meat and veggies they put in the actual sandwich was beyond disappointing.

After reviewing the menu what had me disappointed beside the portion sizes were the prices. Soda, which came from the soda dispenser was priced at $1.99 and I don't believe there are free refills. The soups were $6.99, a $1 more for XL. The meals were all about $7.99.

The food overall was not good. It was not bad, just not good. The food was plain with little to no flavoring. There are sauces like Sriracha and such but not meant for my dish. The Pho soup had good flavor. The sandwich Bun Mi was OK but not worth the drive. The ice coffee was good but a small amount than what I am used to being served.

Overall Experience:

My husband loves Pho. The soup was actually not bad but not the best. I would not bring my husband here to eat because I don't believe it is worth the drive. I am very disappointed in the portions, being a newly opened restaurant. I am disappointed I left thirsty and disappointed in their service. At one point I asked the waitress for a spoon to stir my coffee and never received it. I left unsatisfied and disappointed at my experience. You know it's bad when you leave a restaurant after eating thinking about where you should stop by to grab something else to eat.

Hungry Hippo - Bay Nan

Pho Chef on Urbanspoon


  1. I was disappointed in the 2 pieces of cucumber, two pieces of tomato, and very small portion of chicken. The rice took up the entire plate. I was glad I did not pay for it.

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