Pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup, is hard to find in the Baltimore area but luckily a restaurant specializing in the beef noodle soup and other Vietnamese specialties resides in the heart of Towson.
Pho—pronounced like "fuh"—is often made with beef or chicken and rice noodles and served with bean sprouts, lime and basil.
offers unique cuisine and a great location but less than flavorful food. The atmosphere adds nothing to the dining experience; bare pale green walls and wooden booths provide neither ambiance nor theme.
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The traditional Vietnamese spring rolls were fried and filled with chicken, shrimp and vegetables. While this sounds like a winning combination, the roll was bland and kind of fishy. It was slightly redeemed by the clear chili sauce that accompanied every dish. At $3.75 for two rolls, it made for a reasonable appetizer, although it would be worthwhile to explore the other options, such as the grilled shrimp or beef.
For entrees, Pho Dat Thanh has a wide selection to choose from, such as various pork, beef and shrimp dishes to the Vietnamese version of a French crepe—a rice crepe holding meat, bean sprouts and fish sauce. Most dishes cost about $8 to $10.
The pho came with eye round and flank steak in a large bowl filled with beef broth, noodles and parsley. The broth did not have much beef flavor and tasted herbier and slightly floral, straying from the usual salty broth that accompanies pho. The steak aligned with the traditional pho styles and flavors but the broth was more of a departure.
For $6.75, you’ll get much more than you’ll be able to finish in one meal although you might not find the flavors to match other pho restaurants.
The vermicelli rice bowls are a nice alternative for those who aren’t a fan of pho. Served in a large bowl, long strands of white rice are topped with bean sprouts, carrots, lettuce and your choice of chicken, beef, pork or shrimp.
Other than the meat, the bowl is plain and it’s left to you to enhance with basil, soy sauce and Sriracha chili sauce. The shrimp was grilled and marinated in spices but once you eat the shrimp, you’re left with nothing interesting. At $8.25 you get what you pay for in terms of quantity but not quality or taste.
When searching for pho in Baltimore and Towson, beggars can’t be choosers. Pho Dat Thanh will satisfy your noodle soup needs but may leave you wanting more flavor.