By Krista Prince
Surprisingly enough, there is no shortage of restaurants in the Estero-Fort Myers that serve pho. In recent years, it seems the classic Vietnamese rice-noodle soup dish has found a place here in Southwest Florida.
So much so that our very own FGCU has just opened a pho bar, Pho Sho, in Howard Hall right across from Boar’s Head.
Despite Howard Hall being something like a mosh-pit at Warped Tour on the first day of the new semester, the pho bar was a pleasing experience overall.
Due to the fact that all of the pho bowls that I have experienced before have been pre-made and then served to me with the ingredients of the chef’s choosing, I think Pho Sho brings something to the Pho game that is unique.
With a choice of toppings, and the proportions of ingredients dependent upon personal preference, every bowl is a different experience. Which in the case of Pho, is a good thing because it is an extremely personal pleasure, and it is hard to get two people to enjoy the same version.
In my experience, pho is traditionally topped with green onions, bean sprouts, onions, Thai Basil, Cilantro and lime (with some additions and variations depending on the restaurant).
So my first gripe is regarding the toppings, and the lack thereof, including bean sprouts, which are not only a traditional, but also essential addition to the soup. How can you have pho without bean sprouts?
Moving past the lack of bean sprouts though, I would say that the broth is thoroughly flavorful. With three options of broth; vegan, beef and chicken, there is something for everyone on campus.
The vegan option, which is what I had, included a powerful mix of spices, and, when compared to other pho that I’ve experienced off campus, is much more flavorful.
But the extreme flavor profile of the broth might not be such a good thing. It slightly overpowered the other elements of the soup. On the good side, though, the noodles available are also much thicker than pho I’ve experienced elsewhere so the dish seems much heartier.
Overall, Pho Sho has flavorful soup that is a unique experience due to the vibe created when food is served in a bar-style. But, Pho Sho is much more of an Americanized version of the traditional Vietnamese soup, which to me takes some of the enjoyment out of the experience because it is not an authentic cultural experience.
As a new food option on campus though, Pho Sho offers flavorful soup and inclusive options so it is not a bad choice.