This is by far my fiance's favourite Vietnamese Restaurant in Calgary. She started going to it back when it was a small hole in the wall on Bowtrail. However, because of it's overwhelming popularity, they had to move their location to 17th Ave (3855 17 Ave SW). But that restaurant stayed full as well, so they had to create a new restaurant in Crowfoot (1829 Ranchlands Blvd NW).
Now because this particular establishment is so popular with the fiance, I get dragged to it almost anytime we head to Calgary. And it isn't just me that gets dragged along, but she has now addicted my whole family to it as well. I guess other Vietnamese restaurants don't really exist in Calgary anymore!
Now when I go to a restaurant, or go there often, I really like to try out a variety of things on the menu. I like finding new favourites and trying new things. Who knows what may be unleashed? When the fiance finds something she likes however, it is extremely difficult to shake her out of it. So when we head to Pho Huong Viet, it's always the 2A, a spicy sate chicken soup. And you know, it's easy to see why it's impossible to shake her off of it. It's the perfect blend of spiciness, in a soup, enough to make you sweat a little but not cry out for a glass of milk. It's packed with vermicelli noodles, slices of chicken, onions, beansprouts, all with a hint of lemongrass, and of course, the spicy sate. And it's massive! Only available in medium or large, this soup will pack you to the gills, whether you like the ingredients or the broth. I've tried the seafood and beef versions, but they don't even compare to the chicken one. It's one of those five star recipes!
Eating there so many times however, I had to branch out. The Vermicelli noodles... strictly average I believe. There really isn't anything overly fancy or special about this particular dish, although it's a tasty one as well (but I've had better...sorry Pho Huong!). I've also tried the Wonton soup and some appy's, and they are all equally delicious.
The Bahn Mi sandwiches however...are to die for! It's almost a disaster when I go because I can't decide between the soup or the sandwich. The soup is already a massive bowl (and near impossible to finish), and adding a sandwich to the mix is just dangerous. But because they are so darned good, I can't resist sometimes! A short ingredient list, but somehow these are the best Bahn Mi sandwiches that I have ever tried! Instant drool factor five...
The service is decent, but often the staff is running around serving the multitude of guests to stop and pay attention. You have a quick chance to give your order, but any extra attention involves a bit of arm waving. Silver lining though is that they are very quick and efficient. You never wait for food long in this establishment! I was impressed that the recognized the fiance several months after she had moved to Lethbridge with me. Perhaps because there sales went down by 20%...
The decor itself is... pretty nice. Once again, nothing to really brag about, but it's a clean establishment. There are a couple pictures of Vietnam on the wall, but really it's a very casual place to go. Sometimes when its super busy, the tables are close together and you sit with some strangers, but that generally doesn't happen, and you still maintain some privacy separated by menu's and napkins.
Overall, a very tasty and affordable place to go, and I'd definitely recommend it. Watch out for the soup addiction, it's a hard one to crack!
Staff and Service - B
Food and Flavours - A
Atmosphere - B-