Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pho Thanh Long--Santa Clara, CA

Tonight's experience at Pho Thanh Long wasn't at all typical of the many satisfying lunches and dinners my wife and I enjoyed there in the past. I went with my standby of beef brisket, flank and tendon noodle soup. It was as delightfully hot (in temperature) as always, but the noodles were of varying thickness (mostly narrow, but some wide) and, for the first time in memory, they ran out of basil and gave us cilantro with bean sprouts instead. Most unforgivable, however, was the tendon, which had fine texture, but had a rancid taste to it. The tendon was supposed to be the main event, but after three or four tries, I spent the rest of the dinner dodging it in my soup.

My wife had the same as I, but without the tendon. She was understandably happy with it. The broth was beefy and flavorful--this restaurant has perhaps the best broth of all the pho broth we've tried in the Bay Area. The boys split a large chicken noodle soup. It too was a success, as Pho Thanh Long consistently has far and away the most tender pho chicken to be found in and around Santa Clara.

Despite the letdown in my dinner tonight, we'll certainly be coming back. The value and (up until tonight) the quality are both undeniable. The large bowl for almost all the pho options is only $6.75, and a large here is more substantial than a large at other pho restaurants. All that said, however, I'll be taking a break from tendon for a while.

Pho Thanh Long
2450 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051
(408) 983-0888