I apologize for the blog being overrun with Pho entries but I promise this will be the last one for a while….
Right down the street from one of the Baoguette restaurants, opened Pho 32 and Shabu, a second location of this Vietnamese/Japanese fusion. I hadn’t heard much about the location in K-town but walking past one day I decided to give this East Village location a shot for lunch. The atmosphere is surprisingly nice. I’m not a big fan of many of the places on St. Marks, mainly because they are often less than stellar. The shear volume of restaurants, especially those serving Asian fare, means that there will certainly be a few misses amongst the hits. And I’m always weary when a restaurant’s menu seems to offer a variety of food from multiple Asian cuisines. This place makes no attempt at hiding this. Shabu-shabu: a Japanese hot pot dish. Pho: a Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Could it be, that the kitchen is pumping out both expertly?
The answer to that is a resounding no. Now I will admit that I have not tried the shabu-shabu and should probably do so before saying too much about this place. But I can tell you that the Pho is a disappointment. Watery, boring broth with gummy rice noodles isn’t going to bring me back for more. It certainly wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t memorable. The spring rolls were delicious and not so greasy (always a plus) and the summer rolls were equally enjoyable. Another interesting part of this restaurant was the tv, instructed you on how to eat your Pho. Kinda cheesy, although I guess it was kind of amusing as well. Overall, I would probably go back to try some of their other options, mainly because at the very least the food tasted fresh. But with a name like Pho 32 and Shabu, I expected more from my favorite dish…
Pho 32 and Shabu: 4/10