Despite rising parking costs in Pittsburgh’s strip district, TasteBudA and I decided to overlook the parking costs and venture into a new cuisine for us – Vietnamese. Awhile back I had purchased a Groupon for Pho Van to ensure that I’d take the time to try this new cuisine. After a recent review of my already purchased Groupons, I decided Pho Kim had to be the one to use next. So, on the day of its expiration, we took the time to go.
Spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce ($3)
I loved the fact that it was BYOB, because that makes any restaurant dinner more affordable – and after the preceeding work week, I was happy to have a glass of wine. Upon arriving, I was impressed at how busy this restaurant was and the diversity of clientele – varying ethnicities and ages, even kids. I immediately thought that if this cuisine was approachable to children, that it would be something I shouldn’t be afraid of.
For my meal, I ordered an order of spring rolls and the pork Bahn Mi (Note: the bahn mi is not on the printed menu, but available if you ask for it by name).
Pork Bahn Mi ($4)
The spring rolls were light and refreshing. The fresh mint leaves left me craving a mojito as an after-meal drink.
What I was most taken back by was the hot spiciness of the bahn mi sandwich. My first exposure to the sandwich was the FoodNetwork show Great Food Truck Race where the Nom Nom truck served bahn mi across the country our of their food truck. At Pho Van, the sandwich was only about $4 and worth every penny. Now I see how Nom Nom was able to win over Americans with their vientamese take on a grilled hoagie.
Being a BYOB restaurant, could Pho Van be a TasteBuds Wine Exchange destination? Perhaps. But we have some great events lined up through December of this year, so maybe in 2012 we could host something and share our experience with the rest of our loyal wine exchange group.