Dish Deathmatch: What the Pho?
The art of pho is Serious Business in Columbus. Our peoples love their pho, and when the local newspaper writes up a lovey review for a new joint and its pho… well, it’s time for a little Dish Deathmatch.
The new place is Mi Li’s Asian Cuisine. It has replaced Merlion at 5320 N. High with a menu that features Vietnamese vittles. Three big, red letters in the window spell out the secret word of the day: P-H-O.
Finding the right opponent for the newcomer is no easy task. Columbus has a lot of pho. The consulting pho expert taste team settled on Pho Asian Noodles House and Grill, up on Lane Avenue. To the experts recollection, its pho is the tops in town.
The soups were collected via the ancient tradition of carry-out and went head to head last weekend. There were some fantastic similarities in the two competitors: both offer a big pile of sticky rice noodles, firm, fresh bean sprouts, and a garden of basil-on-the-stem, peppers and cilantro.
But the broth set the tone for the battle. Pho Asian Noodles delivered a broth that elicited a screaming: “WOW, that is crazy good!” (*the scream was actually from me, the experts are typically calmer about everything).
The broth from Mi Li’s elicited a different response. It is more fragrant — and tasters reported flavors that ranged from molasses to fishy. It’s a very different, thought-provoking combination. It worked best with lots of sriracha.
Testing purists will need to know that the pho tasted from Lane was the expert’s favorite: chicken. There was no chicken option at Mi Li, and beef is what was suggested by the newspaper. The contest was designed to be best-on-best.
Given the meat differences, it’s also worth noting that the chicken sample was shredded and sturdy. The beef sample had an unusual, processed texture.
At the end of the day, both phos are highly edible (especially with the sriracha). And while Mi Li has some killer looking banh mi options; for pho, Pho Asian Noodles holds the title for another day.
Got a favorite spot for Pho? Share it with us in the comments below, or over here on our Messageboard.