Pho 99, Franklin Park, New Jersey

I have loved Vietnamese food ever since Patrick introduced me to Pho and fresh shrimp rolls way back in 1994. We used to frequent (alot) Nha Trang in Chinatown (I’ve blogged on Nha Trang earlier). Even today I try to get back there, but living here in the Princeton area it’s quite a way to go. I have tried a number of Vietnamese places in the intervening years here in Cental NJ, but none have hit the mark.

Driving along Rt.27 I had seen signs for a new Vietnamese restaurant for quite some time but the place never opened, until about a month ago. I had been waiting in anticipation to try the place, hoping to come close in flavor excellence of Nha Trang. It’s located in the strip mall with the Great Wall Chinese Supermarket. Isn’t every restaurant pretty much in a strip mall? I can’t stand strip malls. If only we had enough taste & foresight to create more town centers or squares where people can browse, wonder around rather then drive from point to point.

Just last week went there for dinner with the family. It’s a pretty small restaurant, pretty basic in decor but clean, though the restrooms are nice! When we walked in the place was pretty empty, but there were a few asian families having dinner with their young children. The staff is friendly and helpful. The owner (my assumption) came over to ask if we were familiar with Vietnamese food and needed help with the menu which was a nice touch. He was pretty friendly, talking about the problems he has had with the town in trying to get the place opened.

We ordered a number of things including the fresh shrimp rolls (a must have), the fried spring rolls (very good), Pho (noodle soup), ginger chicken and hot & spicy chicken. The chicken dishes were ok, but the Pho was excellent. Great flavor, great noodles and just something you want to keep going back for. The shrimp rolls were great too. For me, the shrimp rolls and Pho are the benchmark for a good Vietnamese restaurant. The kids enjoyed the food too which makes this a place for repeat visits, maybe regularly for the Pho.

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