Pho Stop

We imagine Pho Stop is what you get when you cross a traditional noodle shop with interior designers with a small budget but careful taste. On one hand, the menu is strictly confined to a few pho, a few rice dishes and a handful of fried snacks; there are cups of chopsticks and paper napkins on each table and the minimalist dining room is strangely shaped in a way you’d expect from a mom and pop noodle shop. On the other, framed (and slightly essentializing) graphic posters of Vietnam line the walls; the furniture appears to be from IKEA’s slightly more expensive and much more eccentric cousin; and there’s a small list of Hitachino Nest Japanese craft beers available (at an admirably restrained $12 each). The pho isn’t bad either and generously portioned. On our last visit we got a bowl with sliced beef and bouncy, homemade-tasting beef balls ($8.50). The Hanoi chicken pho ($7.90) is good, too, the broth suitably rich and savory. We do wish they wouldn’t skimp on sides like the Thai basil and sawtooth coriander (though you can always ask for more). We’re not crazy about the appetizers, either. The herb-forward, springy fish cakes ($5.60) are satisfying if you’re hungry, but on our last visit, they had a weird, synthetic taste. The chicken summer rolls $6), too, though nice and fat, are not exactly bursting with freshness and crunch. Still, it’s a good place the cool your heels at the end of a long week: it’s decent, hearty and affordably priced. But the real draw here, we think, is not the food but TheBarAbove on the second floor, which has a similar décor but lots more warm wood, a lovely outdoor patio and a list of martinis all priced at $10.