The restaurant was a bit noisy when I first walked in; the music was loud, the metal spatulas were clanging on the flat top and the ladle was hitting the side of the pot.
However, all that noise seemed to lessen as I put that delicious pho bone broth into my mouth. A surge of energy and rejuvenation hit me as I was slurping my rice noodles. It was almost magical.
Phubs is a soup and sub shop with a Vietnamese twist. I went to check it out with my mom, who loves hot broth on a hot or warm day since, being Asian, it’s cultural to eat something hot to revitalize your body.
I asked the register person for recommendations, so we decided to go with the shrimp and pork summer rolls ($4.11), the double down meat pho ($7.82), the “phub-rrito” (around $9) and the bulgogi beef and kimchi bahn mi ($8.14).
I peeked behind the counter to see the open kitchen. The stations were clean, the pots of broth cooking and steaming away and the employees were discussing new items to put on the menu. We received our number, sat at a booth and waited for our order to come.
Behind us, there was a condiments station that had sliced jalapeños, bean sprouts, lime wedges, cilantro and Thai basil to add to the pho or bahn mi. Everything looked fresh and stocked very well, so I grabbed a small plate for us.
The summer spring rolls were first. They were filled with lettuce, cucumbers, noodles, shrimp and slices of pork wrapped inside of rice paper. The peanut dipping sauce had a nice nuttiness, a little sweetness and subtle spiciness. They were refreshing and a good start to our meal, but I would have liked it if they put a couple more pieces of shrimp and pork into the rolls.
After our rolls, the rest of the order came in, and my anticipation for the pho was making me salivate. The broth hit me like a wave of energy, almost like an herbal tonic It’s better than drinking an energy drink or cup of coffee. There were lots of slices of eye of round and brisket, which were tender and took in the flavors of the broth. The rice noodles were cooked to perfection as I was devouring and enjoying each bite. It was almost clear, refreshing in its own way, and there was no oily aftertaste or mouthfeel. If they sold this separately, I would buy a couple quarts of it and drink it like tea.
Next, my mom and I split the house special, the “phub-rrito,” a warm burrito of everything in a beef pho stuffed inside a soft tortilla wrap. It was filled with rice noodles, tender sweet and salty slices of beef and scallions. Served on the side were their house made shrimp chips; they kind of resemble Styrofoam, but airy, crispy, salty, rice chips with shrimp flavor.
Finally, we split the bulgogi beef and kimchi bahn mi. The sub came on a toasted baguette so the bread had a nice crisp and crunch on the outside. The tender slices of beef were marinated and cooked well, as they had a salty, sweet and garlicky flavor to them. There were slices of cucumber to give it the cooling factor from the kimchi. The only thing we did not like about the bahn mi was the kimchi, but I am biased, because I am going to favor my mom’s kimchi over any restaurant’s. However, the overall balance of flavors for the sub was great.
Our dining experience at Phubs was fantastic The food speaks for itself; it’s delicious and homey. They use great ingredients sourced from local farms, they make their own marinades, they make their own pickled daikon and carrots and they make the best aromatic and flavorful pho broth you will ever taste. I would highly recommend anything and everything on their menu, and I will definitely go back for more.
WHERE: 1350 Dorsey Road, Hanover
HOURS: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, closed
OWNER: Chuong Nguyen
RESERVATIONS: Not recommended
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards