Over on Hollister Avenue, next to the local Costco and Albertsons, is a little Vietnamese restaurant known as Phamous Café. Though initially unassuming and ordinary in its outward appearance, inside the establishment hides a treasure trove of good quality dishes of pungently tasty Vietnamese food listed under an affordable, college student-friendly price.
Any respected Vietnamese restaurant cannot be complete without a plethora of pho items on its menu, and Phamous Café is no exception. Listed on the menu are pho dishes including those with rare steak, lean brisket, fat brisket, beef meatballs, tendon, tripe, chicken and well-done flank. As you can see, the choices the restaurant provides certainly ensure that you’ll get some meat in your mouth when you order any pho dish.
Speaking of the meat, the beef-based meats included in the pho are quite delicious; they aren’t stale or thin enough to not be noticeable when eating the meat with the noodles and the broth, yet they also aren’t too juicy or overpowering to take away from the rest of the pho. After my first taste test on the rare steak included in my pho, I happily shoved every single atom of the beef directly into the gaping orifice known as my mouth, internally moaning in ecstasy as my eyes rolled upwards to reveal the white sclera of my eyeballs; in short, the meat is good. The rest of the pho dish was what you expect from pho, with the tasty broth and chewy noodles being of a high enough quality to keep my enjoying every slurp, munch and bite.
Overall, the pho dishes at Phamous Café are good dishes with quality meat, an astounding fact considering that each dish is priced at $8.95 (though a few are $9.95). Other Vietnamese restaurants easily charge above $10 for similar pho dishes. A customer can order a larger pho for an extra dollar, though the serving size of the normal pho size is plenty for a single person to get a filling meal.
Though the pho at Phamous Café is the main reason someone would eat at the restaurant, there are a number of side and alternate dishes that are also of good quality for an appealing price. For instance, the appetizers (spring and egg rolls) cost $4.95 for two pretty large rolls. They aren’t as tantalizingly tasty as the pho dishes are, though they are serviceable enough to warrant the price.
Alternative dishes to the pho are the rice dishes, which usually include a meat, a bun of rice, veggies and a small bowl of broth (which is the same broth used in the pho). The rice dishes, like the appetizers, are not the main focus of the restaurant and don’t really shine in the taste department. They cost around 50 cents to a dollar more than most of the pho dishes and aren’t as filling or large as the pho. The rice tastes average and the grilled meat included in the dishes aren’t as tasty as the meats included in the pho.
Phamous Café certainly earns its name in one regard: it should be “phamous” for delightfully delicious pho at a reasonable price. The pho here is cheaper than competing restaurants and tastes just as scrumptious. Whether you’re a money-deprived college student looking to scratch the pho-bone or a wild child looking for a place to satiate your munchies after a night of silly, sassy fun, Phamous Café is definitely a place to check out and eat some good pho while saving your bank account.