Pho, a Vietnamese rice-noodle soup made with a special broth, is part of the reason why I survived New York’s awfully cold winter. (The other parts, in my opinion, include ordering take-out, wearing cashmere layers, and refusing to step outside for anything besides paying the delivery guy). One of my favorite little pho shops in Chinatown is Pho Tu Do, where I end up eating on nights I don’t feel like cooking but want something warm. Located on Bowery in the LES, Pho Tu Do is decorated for Christmas year-round, owned by a family that has lots of miniature dogs (the cash register is littered with their photographs), and has pho that keeps me coming back (especially in the winter time). Traditional pho broth is made with simmering all types of beef bones, mixed with oxtails, and several spices (including star anise, cloves, and ginger). The broth is what makes the pho special; the dish consists of broth, rice noodles, and sometimes beef, making it a seemingly plain dish. The broth at Pho Tu Do has a lot of flavor and tastes like the bones have been simmered overnight (probably the minimum for making pho broth). Whenever I go, I usually order the spring rolls:
The spring roll also has mint, noodles, green onions, and shrimp with a peanut dipping sauce.
The service is always super speedy and they bring out the pho as soon as you finish your appetizer:
The broth has a great flavor, especially after you add fresh basil and a squeeze of lime juice. The beef is also medium rare, making it tender and not too tough (especially since the broth is hot enough to continue cooking the meat).
Possibly the best part of the meal is the check – pho is under $6 and spring rolls are around $3.