VIETNAMESE SPECIAL: Many of Yo Pho's dishes come with Asian-style vermicelli. Photograph by Amy Buchanan
There is no shortage of pho restaurants in the South Bay. In order to stand out from the competition, Yo Pho has taken a somewhat unusual approach: including frozen yogurt on the menu.
It is, in fact, as though two different restaurants were sharing the same building. There is the pho restaurant-which is an actual sit-down Vietnamese restaurant with waiters and a diverse and expansive menuÑand then there is a frozen yogurt restaurant, which is a self-service stand with several flavors and a topping bar all next to the cash register. The Froyo and toppings are 30 cents an ounce. My personal favorite flavor is the avocado.
The odd inclusion of frozen yogurt, to the point of even weaving it into the name, raises the question: Can they actually make some good pho? Indeed they can-with a lot of different variations. There are three full menu pages of beef, chicken and vegetable options. The small bowl is $6.75, while the large is $7.75. I ordered the Thai (rare steak), which came highly recommended. The soup was very brothy and heaping with cilantro. Combined with the thick, chewy rice noodles and the rare steak, which came in razor thin strips, it made for a very filling, satisfying meal.
There were many other Vietnamese options besides pho. Personally, I liked the vermicelli dishes, with pork and egg roll being my plate of choice. It comes with one long pork egg roll cut into three slices and a healthy serving of fajita strips of pork (marinated in oyster sauces and soy sauce), all served over a large bowl of vermicelli pasta (Asian style, which is made of rice and is much thinner than the Italian kind). It also served with cabbage, cilantro, cucumber and jicama.
For a particularly succulent dinner, the Bo Luc Lan, for $10.95, is a good choice. On a still sizzling skillet, you are served several cubes of beef, which have been coated in A1 steak sauce and Teriyaki sauce, along with slices of bell peppers and onions. The meal comes with a heaping dish of garlic rice, a small salad and a bowl of broth. It is big enough for two people, if not more.
The appetizer list includes salads, pot stickers, fried chicken, calamari and a variety of spring rolls. The Thit Nuong Cuon (grilled barbecue pork roll) is a great starter, with six spring rolls filled with pork, marinated similarly to the vermicelli dinner, noodles and lettuce. It features a sweet peanut dipping sauce, with actual broken peanut pieces sprinkled on top.
At the end of the meal, a cup of frozen yogurt really does hit the spot. Fortunately, you don’t have to drive to a new building to get some.
242 Serra Way, Milpitas