Pho at Mekong Delta

March 21, 2009

Yesterday my friend Ed sent me a link to a Baltimore Sun Review of a new Pho restaurant that just opened a few blocks from our apartments. I immediately suggested we go that evening. Yes, I was that excited to check it out. The only other pho place I’ve been to within Baltimore City is Baltimore Pho, and I wasn’t that impressed with the food. That place tries too hard to be fancy and “upscale”–I guess it’s trying to compensate for being right in the middle of Hollins Market (kinda sketch) when all I want is a hole in the wall with good, cheap pho.

And that’s exactly what you get when you go to Mekong Delta. When you walk in, it feels like you’re entering an old Baltimore row home, halfway turned into a restaurant. It’s almost like you’re going to a friend’s house for dinner. The front half has a few small tables (probably can’t seat more than 20…and that’s pushing it). As you walk towards the back, you reach the kitchen, which is partitioned with a dish dryer and a folded up table. We sat towards the back, right up against the rest room, so I was able to get a peek into the kitchen. It looks like your average kitchen in an apartment. It certainly doesn’t look equipped to handle the demands of a restaurant. They don’t even have a dishwasher! I saw one person washing dishes by hand. The kitchen is equipped with a commercial stove and industrial fan, and there is a large refrigerator.

Mekong Delta is family-owned, and right now there are only three people operating it (plus two elementary school-aged boys running around). So I really wasn’t surprised that it took our orders while to come out. They bring out each order as it’s ready, but I didn’t mind so much considering we had a large party.

I ordered the Summer Rolls (C1, $3.75) and the beef broth pho with both rare and cooked beef (P2, $8.75). I thought the summer rolls were tasty, but I was not impressed by the peanut dipping sauce. It was really watery and bland. It hardly tasted like anything. I added some sriracha sauce to give it a kick. I really liked the pho. It came out steaming hot (unlike Baltimore Pho) and the broth was really good. The bowl was practically overflowing–it was difficult to mix in the sprouts and cilantro. The portion would have been just right had I not had the summer rolls, so I was pretty full by the end. Most of us ordered pho, but one person ordered a tofu stir-fry noodle dish that looked really good as well. I definitely will be back.

Summer Rolls

Beef Pho

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