Friday, April 2, 2010

Pho Saigon 54 in Laurel

I love a bowl of pho on a chilly afternoon, and I'm adding to my repertoire with Pho Saigon 54 in Laurel.

It's outside Howard County, but so perfect if you're making repeated trips to Ikea in College Park.  Along with the list of things that I had forgotten at Ikea, I carried Momomom's comment about what you want in high quality pho:
I want really nice garnishes of cilantro and Thai basil, sprouts that are crisp with no brown edges, generous wedges of lime, some sliced jalapennos, sriracha and hunan sauce bottles. I want HOT broth that is meaty but not greasy. I want all dente rice noodles nested in a circle. I want various meat options even though I always get the plain round steak. I want the spoon and the chopsticks must be nice...not break apart wooden ones. I like an option with vegetables instead of meat. I like fast service ... that seems the norm for pho. Predictable and always the same over and over again.

That's Pho Saigon 54 in a paragraph.  This is one of those simple, shopping center restaurants like An Loi or Pho Dat Trahn in Columbia that offer Vietnamese soup, noodles, and those delicious summer rolls.  We really liked the pho.  Hot soup, fresh herbs, terrific noodles that filled us up.  Pho Saigon is clean, fast and offers all the sauces, hot peppers and sprouts to personalize your own bowl.  Certainly as good as the Howard County spots.  I thought the brother and meat were excellent here, but I'll need to see if one of these three actually excels.

Pho is perfect for a chilly spring day.  You leave warm and full, but not so stuffed that you need a nap.  You can still do your errands, assemble your television stand, or whatever else needs to get done.

Momomon -- Why do you want the noodles in a circle?  They were.  I just wondered why!  [Update: Check out Perrik's comments below for an answer and for other pho recommendations.]

Pho Saigon 54
13600 Baltimore Ave #306
Laurel, MD 20707


NEAR:  Pho Saigon is in a shopping center at U.S. 1 and Contee Road in Laurel.  That's south of Rt 198.  Pho Saigon is in an outbuilding next to the Starbucks.

  Pho Saigon on Urbanspoon


perrik said...

A circle of noodles is a sign of care being taken in the kitchen. It's a nicer presentation than just plopping a wad of tangled noodles into the bowl.

This pho place is located in one of my favorite one-stop shopping meccas - PetSmart for cat supplies, Pho Saigon for lunch, Starbucks for a caffeine buzz, and sugar doughnuts from Shoppers Food Warehouse for those days I just can't make it to Grace Garden for their addictive little sugar bombs.

Your next pho assignment is also just beyond the county line: Pho Real, just south of Burtonsville. If you have to run errands down Rt 29, it's an easy detour onto Briggs Chaney Road. There's a better place in Cloverly (Toan Pho on New Hampshire Avenue at Briggs Chaney, on the opposite side of the road from the fabulous cake doughnuts of Fractured Prune), but you'll have to be creative to find an excuse to detour that far. Luckily I'm creative! Toan Pho is a one-man operation, so sometimes it's unexpectedly closed, but I prefer his broth to any of the Columbia/Laurel pho places!

But he doesn't circle his noodles.

(out of context, that is one weird sentence...)

Kim said...

OH! That looks so good! I may have to go there tonight!

And then apparently go across to the Shoppers for doughnuts.

Carla said...

I like the predictability of circular noodles. I know where they will be, lol. I twirl my noodles on the chop sticks and this works better if they are presented neatly. Also, I think the mushy over cooked noodles I've had on occasion have always been presented in a mish mash.

Carla said...

Oh, I'm momomom

Brandon Miller - Milhouse44 said...

Tried to visit Toan PHo Monday at 12/noon. Closed, lights off and there are not hours or anything on the door. Disappointed not being able to try a new spot I spun down Briggs for Pho Real. I wasn’t disappointed long Pho Real is a good bowl of Pho. Saigon 54 is still one of my favorite stops along with Real, VN ONE, Pho Ahn, Pho 75 & Pho 88. Do other people eat pho at least once sometimes twice a week?

Soo said...

Is this place open for breakfast too? Growing up in LA, my family would have Pho for breakfast (or Korean jook/porridge) instead of the typical "Western" breakfast. Could use some ideas for Asian breakfast - especially Pho available before 10am! Thanks!!

HowChow said...

Soo -- You can call, but I don't think any of the Vietnamese places around here are open for breakfast.