Pho So has quietly been dominating the pho scene in town for the last couple of years. After the first location on Montwood opened, a second location on the East side on Gateway West opened almost immediately. Most recently, the third location has been thriving since summer of 2014 in Downtown on Paisano. The newest location offers a few rarities as a downtown business: plenty of free parking, spacious seating and hours of operation that include weekends and extend well past 5 p.m.
Appetizers are limited to fried egg rolls filled with pork and veggies and fresh spring rolls with your choice of meat or tofu filling. Pho is available in small and large sizes, and come with rice noodles and your choice of steak, brisket, beef meatballs, chicken or seafood in a broth that can take up to eighteen hours to make. The #18 combines the best of everything with brisket, tendon and thinly sliced rare steak that cooks as you stir it into the steaming rich, spiced broth. The usual accouterments of bean sprouts, cilantro, lime wedges and jalapenos come with all soups, but still missing in El Paso pho joints are Thai basil leaves. House special #39, also a favorite, combines brisket and pork in the same broth, but with the addition of a spicy chile oil, which adds a smoky heat.
Warmer days call for bun, charbroiled meats and raw veggies atop a nest of rice vermicelli, sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Some bun dishes can be ordered with eggrolls. If cold rice noodle dishes aren’t appealing, try a steamed rice dish. Also available are chicken, beef or pork Vietnamese sandwiches served with cilantro, cucumber, pickled carrots, cabbage and mayo. New to the menu is a vegetarian section of tofu dishes.
Requisite boba tea drinks and smoothies in various flavors are also available, along with Blue Bell ice cream.
5360 N. Mesa • 915-321-1562; Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. -10 p.m. Vegetarian friendly; Children’s menu available; $1.50-10.50