Beyond the Rhetoric


Phobulous Is Just Pho Sho

March 15th, 2009 by
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Phobulous - Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine

Since Stephen Fung decided to replace the weekly Dot Com Pho meeting with a Dot Com Double Feature at IHOP and Denny’s, I thought it would only be appropriate that I bring some of those Vietnamese rice noodles back to the Internet.

During my random adventures online, I came across a Vietnamese restaurant called Phobulous. Located near the University of Alberta in Edmonton, this small establishment is clearly trying to be “hip” and “trendy” with its naming scheme, attracting the forward thinking students of the nearby university.

While the outside of the restaurant is modest at best with a very simple banner exclaiming its name, the interior design is decidedly more upscale than your typical pho restaurant. The seats are high quality and there is expensive artwork on the walls. Even the complimentary glass of ice water has been infused with lemon juice. Normally, you have to do that yourself.

The somewhat humorous naming scheme doesn’t stop at the Phobulous name of the restaurant either, as much of the menu takes on the same sense of “pho funny” humor. Someone’s got to make up for the funny factor when Sally’s not there making funny faces, after all.

Phobulous - Pho Shizzle on the Menu

From the Mother Pho to the Phonomenon, you can tell that they put some effort into what they call the various bowls of noodles. Realistically, the content is pho-lly generic, containing much of the same beef products that you’d find anywhere else.

Phobulous - Pork and Shrimp Salad Roll

We started out with an order of pork and shrimp salad rolls. You can’t seem to order them individually, as they only come in an order of four for about $7.50 or so. One review that I read online said that they were like eating a rainforest. Perhaps they weren’t very experienced in the world of “fine” Vietnamese cuisine.

Phobulous - Bowl of Pho Shizzle

And what you see above is the Pho Shizzle. I get flank, rare steak, and beef balls. In the end, I decided that Phobulous is mostly pho show and the proprietors don’t really bring their pho game to the table. The beef was a little on the chewy side and the broth was a touch too salty.

That said, the sense of humor and elevated class make Phobulous more approachable for pho beginners. For veterans, we prefer the shadier, more run-down establishments. For whatever reason, they tend to have better pho.
Phobulous on Urbanspoon

  Category: Food and Drink  

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7 Responses to “Phobulous Is Just Pho Sho”

  1. Ray Ebersole says:

    One of the other Black Belts I train with is from Laos and a chef to boot. He makes some great Pad Thai, which I prefer over Pho, but Pho is real good too.

    The Pho Shizzle looks great and I had actually picked that from the picture of the menu before reading further and seeing its picture.

    The pork and shrimp salad rolls are what I call spring rolls that Keviolay Sensei makes. The sauce in the picture looks like the same peanut sauce that he served.

    Now that you made me hungry for Pho or Pad Thai, I’m going to have to drive to Bangkok (the restaurant, not country) for dinner.

    • Michael Kwan says:

      I still remember the episode of King of the Hill when the Arlen folks first met the Khan’s family. He tells them that they’re Laotian and that they’re from Laos. Dale (I believe) then asks him what part of China is that? 🙂 On a side note, I still have no idea what is distinctly Laotian cuisine. For me, Pad Thai is still from Thailand, though I’m sure the Laotian people prepare it slightly differently?

      I distinguish between salad rolls and spring rolls in that the former are cold and wrapped in rice paper, whereas the latter are deep-fried.

      • Ray Ebersole says:

        Keviolay Sensei called them spring rolls, whereas I’ve previously called the deep fried ones spring rolls. No matter they taste pretty good.

        I would say that Laotian cuisine is a potpourri of the other main regional foods because I don’t ever remember eating anything that he said was Laotian. It was either, Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese cuisine all with a spicier flavor than the originals.

  2. dcr says:

    Now I’m curious to visit a rainforest… I’d like to see the elusive tree shrimp. 😉

  3. Stephen says:

    That’s too bad about the quality. It doesn’t matter what you call it if it turns out on the chewy and over salted. But I do like the creativity.

    Are you sure the beef just isn’t frozen from the extreme cold and the broth is freezing in chunks so you get the saltier parts? Afterall, you are in a winter tundra 😉

  4. Nice play on words, you really get the “pho”. This would really cater to the young audience, which is great since they are located near a university.

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