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Pho Nam

Pho Nam

Address:6477 National Pike
40 West Plaza
Catonsville, MD 21228

More on Pho Nam.

By Michelle Gienow | Posted 5/19/2004

Pho Nam, the area's second storefront pho shop, is efficient and friendly, the food tasty and cheap, and the service unbelievably swift. It's almost as though you thought to yourself, Some goi cuon (soft spring rolls, $2.95) would be nice, and then there they are in front of you. The tender dough wrapper hugs plump shrimp, noodles, lettuce, and mint, each bite enriched by a swipe through the salty-sweet peanut sauce. True to its name, Pho Nam also serves pho, Vietnamese noodle soup--16 varieties of beef, two of chicken. Aside from a handful of bun (grilled meat over rice noodles, $6.95) and com dia (grilled meat over steamed rice, $6.95), that's the entire menu. All pho is $5.25 for the generous "regular" bowl and $5.95 for the "large" basin-sized bowl, and it comes with a mound of bean sprouts, thinly sliced hot green peppers, basil sprigs, and lemon wedges. We liked the pho tai chin, with tender slices of eye-of-round steak and seared brisket immersed in a delicately spiced clear brown broth redolent of star anise. Less interesting was the nearly flavorless pho ga, chicken noodle soup notated as "suited to American taste." For dessert, try the che bap ($1.90), a sort of creamy corn-studded sweet Jell-o submerged beneath a glug of rich coconut milk that the counter lady pours after you order it: odd but compelling.

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