Pho is one of the most delicious noodle soups on the planet.
This Vietnamese specialty is at its best when the broth is fragrant and deep, the noodles perfectly cooked, the condiments fresh and abundant, and the meat added is high quality.
Pho Special, on East Pawnee, makes one of the best bowls of pho that I have eaten. The broth at Pho Special is rich with beef flavor and star anise, and lightly sweet. It is pretty perfect by itself, but you get a plate piled high with jalapenos, bean sprouts, lime and fresh basil that you can use to doctor up your soup to your liking. I like mine with a little bit of everything. You can slurp up some soup with noodles and meat, add a few sprouts and some basil, and every bite can taste different.
I went the other day with a friend and his daughter. He ordered the P-1: a combination of sirloin, flank steak, brisket, tendon, tripe and meatballs. It was gorgeous and really beefy-tasting.
If you are not a fan of innards, then you can choose from a number of more pedestrian cuts of meat. I ordered P-16, an unusual chicken pho, made with the same great broth and noodles, but served with ginger-brushed poached chicken thigh slices and a gingery soy sauce. I put the sauce on the chicken and slid it into my pho. The result was a delicious umami festival, sweet and savory and textural and fantastic.
The menu at Pho Special is really big, with lots of other choices, like dry noodle bun, sautéed dishes with steamed rice, and marvelously fresh spring rolls. I had such a great meal I went back the same day for more!