Final Pho, Semi-Final Round: Pho Nguyen Hue vs. Brodard Chateau
|Pho Nguyen Hue's chicken pho|
It took several visits to decide on the winner of this round. Shuji and I argued back and forth via e-mail for days; major legislation has passed Congress without the amount of debate we put in over two bowls of noodle soup.
|Pho Nguyen Hue's pho dac biet|
|Brodard Chateau's pho dac biet|
The presentation at Brodard Chateau, of course, was excellent, with pesto-rubbed slices of baguette toast to dip in the broth, perky basil (but different types of basil on two separate visits) and sawleaf herb, the freshest sprouts, and a pre-made dipping bowl of hoisin and sriracha sauce. One major sin--easily corrected with a word to the staff--is that chicken pho comes with the same setup, rather than with the sweet, gingery dipping sauce that is the hallmark of Brodard Chateau and served with every (practically mandatory) order of their nem nuong cuon.
Could we award a trip to the championship to a $9 bowl of pho? Doesn't the value proposition need to be taken into account?
Well, yes... and no. A small bowl of pho at Pho Nguyen Hue is $4.25, one of the best values in Little Saigon. It's a worthy destination in its own right, and would stack up nicely against any pho shop in Los Angeles (Did you hear that, LA Weekly? That's the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down.) We are after the best pho, not the best-value pho, and Shuji summed it up beautifully when he said that Pho Nguyen Hue was the Lady Antebellum of pho. Based solely on the flavor, and recognizing that the bracket system has eliminated worthier and more consistently good bowls of pho, we have chosen:
WINNER, AND ADVANCING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Brodard Chateau.
Pho Nguyen Hue, 10487 Bolsa Ave., Westminster; (714) 839-8916; phonhue.com.
Brodard Chateau, 9100 Trask Ave., Garden Grove; (714) 899-8273; brodard.net.
ROUND 1 WINNERS:
Pho Dakao vs. Kim Loan: Pho Dakao
AnQi vs. Benley: Benley
Pho Thanh Lich vs. Pho Vinh Ky 2: Pho Thanh Lich
Pho Kimmy vs. Pho Quang Trung: Pho Quang Trung
Pho Hien Vuong vs. Pho Nguyen Hue: Pho Nguyen Hue
Brodard Chateau vs. S Vietnamese Fine Dining: Brodard Chateau
Pho Thang Long vs. Quan Hop: Quan Hop
Pho 79 vs. Pho 86: Pho 86
ROUND 2 WINNERS:
Pho Dakao Vs. Pho Nguyen Hue: Pho Nguyen Hue
Benley vs Brodard Chateau: Brodard Chateau
Pho Thanh Lich vs. Quan Hop: Pho Thanh Lich
Pho 86 vs. Pho Quang Trung: Pho Quang Trung