Despite the downtrodden locale next to Hollins Market, Baltimore Pho qualifies as a date restaurant. You walk through the doors and are greeted by gracious professionalism of the staff, delicious and distinctive food and drink on the table, and a smart red-white-and-black décor all around you. Your date will be amazed that such delicacies as the signature Vietnamese noodle, broth, and you-pick-the-rest dish can be found in so tough a neighborhood.
Pho Huong Moi now occupies the same space that the beloved Miss Pho used to. And Huong Moi's pho is every bit as filling as its predecessor's, coming in two sizes--regular, which is big, and large, which is mammoth--with all the accompanying goodies: bean sprouts, thin sliced jalapenos, mint sprigs, lime wedges, and tray of various hot sauces already sitting on the table. But it's also added a few new wrinkles to the menu, such as weekly specials and bun dishes, those tasty bowls of noodles and toppings that go so well with a Vietnamese coffee.
This strip-mall eatery is still largely unknown by even phofanatics, who tend to gravitate south toward Columbia and D.C. to get their fix. But the iconic noodle soup served here is easily among the best anywhere, with a bafflingly flavorful, nourishing, almost refreshing clear broth that smells of cinnamon and anise but tastes of focused beefy savoriness. Meat and toppings are generous, and the noodles are more tender than usual while retaining pleasant resilience. Prices are ludicrously low--an order of spring rolls, a bowl of pho, and a Vietnamese iced coffee comes to less than $10.
Still the only proper Vietnamese restaurant in the city, Saigon Remembered serves home-style clay pot rice, grilled meat, stew, and noodle dishes making it a favorite for years. But it's the large selection of creative summer rolls (meat, vegetable, and noodle rolls in tender, stretchy rice and tapioca wrapping paper) that we can't stop eating. Service is always prompt and friendly, and proximity to the Senator makes it an ideal pre-flick stop.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201