Go for the pho at Thai-Vietnamese eatery
WALTHAM - On the outside, the tiny Moody Street storefront that houses the three-month-old Pho & Spice may look a little dingy. Step inside, though, and the cheerily bright walls, the friendly staff and, most of all, the clean aroma of freshly made soup will dispel any lingering doubts.
In particular, it’s the pho, the rich Vietnamese broth brimming with noodles, vegetables, and your choice of several meats (or none). There’s good reason why Pho comes first in the name.
Better branch out and try the dac biet (same three sizes, same prices), a beef broth with steak, tendon, and tripe. Don’t be frightened - that’s just three ways of saying “delicious meat.’’ There’s also tai, the beef broth with just the steak, and bo vien, with “season meat ball of ground beef.’’ Or the irresistible duck noodle soup (one size, $8.95), which is, in a word, ducky.
That’s a good thing, for us lovers of duck. And so is the delightful inclusion of duck among the meat options over on the pad Thai side of the menu. At $10.95 for lunch or $12.95 for dinner, it’s slightly pricier than the other options (chicken, pork, beef, or tofu for $7.95/$10.95, or crispy chicken or seafood for $8.95/$11.95) but it turns out that crisp bits of duck skin are just what you’ve always been missing in the iconic Thai noodle dish. It’s best of all in the spicy basil pad Thai, though regular, country, and crispy-noodle styles are also available.
That’s as deep as you need to venture into the Thai offerings, which in general are less spicy and a little sweeter than the best of this cuisine. But if you tire of pho (how?), there’s still plenty more from Vietnam to explore: toothsome goi cuon (fresh summer rolls), banh mi (sandwiches), bun (noodle bowls), and rice dishes galore. It’s hard to believe all this fresh, colorful food could emerge from such a tiny kitchen. But it does.
Louise Kennedy can be reached at email@example.com.