What is better than a hot bowl of pho to warm you up on a cold, rainy, spring day? Not a whole lot. This morning I decided that today would be the day that I make the trek to Windsor Locks to try this place out. Living in West Hartford, I have access to many pho restaurants and have tried most of the ones around but after reading some reviews and hearing great things about this place I wanted to expand my pho horizons. So off I went today, on a solo lunch mission for some tasty warm broth, toothsome rice noodles, and meat, meat, meat.
I guess I never realized that Bradley International is right across the street. Never having been there before it was a double win to try this restaurant out for the first time and also learn the route to the airport. I walked in a little before noon and there was only one other person in there when I arrived. Soon after my arrival, it began to fill up and before I knew it almost half the restaurant was full with a mix of groups of four and two, and about a handful of people dining alone.
Looking through the menu I realized the prices were higher than other pho joints I’ve been to in the Hartford/West Hartford area. Truth be told, I was shocked to see $7.00 banh mi, especially when my staple bahn mi at Huong Viet (that used to be Mini Saigon when I first started going there years ago) is about half that price and packs full on deliciousness. I didn’t splurge on the relatively pricey sandwich but instead ordered what I came for: pho. I ordered the small #1 and a Vietnamese espresso.
When the pho arrived after a very short wait it was in a noticeably smaller bowl than what I am used to, but the size of the bowl was deceiving because there was a whole lot of noodles and beefy goodness (brisket, tripe, tendon, meatballs – yum!) to devour. An accompanying dish of fresh basil, bean sprouts, lime wedge, chili pepper and jalapeno peppers was provided along with the beef noodle soup. The broth had excellent flavor, richer than broths I’ve had at other pho establishments. The noodles were plentiful and great.
I asked for the Vietnamese espresso iced and it arrived in two parts: a glass of ice and a separate glass of the espresso itself was still dripping into a layer of sweetened condensed milk. I poured the contents of the freshly dripped espresso + milk mixture into my glass of ice after giving it a stir. The glass of ice had been sitting out during the time I was eating the pho so it had melted a little bit creating a bit of water at the bottom of the glass. I knew the espresso would become slightly diluted if I poured it in as is, but dilution was no cause for concern because I knew it was going to be some potent stuff anyway. This stuff is always very strong, and I love that.
Ordering this turned out to be one of the best decisions on my part because it was superb. Luscious, flavorful, and sweet but not cloying. It is not as bitter as the one Pho Boston serves and is less sweet. It was divine. There could not have been a more perfect ending to my already satisfying lunch.
Mmm. An all around excellent lunch date with myself. So glad I came today.
209 Ella Grasso Tpke
Windsor Locks, CT 06096