03 May 2011

Phở Thanh Hoái

What used to be called Nha Trang Place is now Phở Thanh Hoái and is still the most reliable Vietnamese in Jersey City. The almost decrepit exterior gives way to a vast dining hall that probably accommodates many more than would ever be here at one time. It feels like a Vietnamese restaurant on the west coast, where space is less of a premium and everyone has plenty of legroom.

The prices here are a bit higher than their counterparts in Chinatown, but the quality is good and a focus on producing standards is very spot on. One of those, the gỏi cuốn ($4.25, below, 2 rolls) is very fresh, without a hint of sitting around for a while.

Hold onto to your peanut sauce if you are getting a dish with grilled pork, like the bún thịt heo nướng ($6.50, below), as the combination is exquisite. Also, don't forget to pour the side of nước chấm (mixed fish sauce) all over and mix well.

The broths of the phở here are very good and the soup dish is done with great integrity. The phở tái ($6.25, below) comes out with thin still-pink slices of eye of round, which gradually brown in the broth.

You can grab small desserts and bánh mì next door at Nha Trang Market, so keep a little appetite and slide there after your meal.

249 Newark Avenue, Jersey City NJ

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