Erik M and I did visit Tank Noodle at their new location today. We arrived around 12:15, the place was filled with large groups at the 13 or so tables which accomodate 8 or more.
We expected service to be slow, so we were not very excited when it was, we just kept ourselves amused conversing. It did take some time to get water, menus and tea. Once we placed our order for two Pho's, rare filet on the side, rendered beef fat with scallions in it and a Coke for me, the pace of service improved.
While waiting for the food to come, Erik had the waiter bring two shallow mixing bowls. In one bowl, he put half Sracha for him and half hoisin sauce for me. Once the soup came, Erik dipped the cooked meat lightly into the Sracha to season it. Into the next bowl, Erik put maybe 2-3 teaspoons of black pepper and a teaspoon of salt. Once the fresh vegetable plate arrived, the lime was squeezed into the salt and pepper, just enough to form a paste. This lime-salt-pepper was used to season the raw filet after it was warmed in the soup. All this was prepared in advance of the soup's arriving so it could be eaten while it was still hot.
Erik then described how Pho was really all about the broth. He commented the Vietnamese who always dumped Sracha into their broth without tasting were almost always men. He felt they had no appreciation for the care, effort and skill put into the broth like the women did.
Once the soup arrives, Erik only puts some herbs and bean sprouts into his soup. He prefers to pace it to allow the soup to stay as hot as possible as long as possible. He emphasized if you dump all the cold vegetables you desire all at once, then you also cool the soup faster than is desireable. He mixed in 1-2 soup spoons of the rendered beef fat to enrich the flavor. He also prefers to eat the noodles fast before they cook further in the broth, expand and get mushier.
During the course of the meal, the lime-pepper-salt mixture got a little soupy. Probably because I may not have drained my filet enough before dipping. Erik corrected the situation by introducing more pepper until it was a paste again.
I've been coming to Argyle for Pho for perhaps 10 years, I learned about the art of eating Pho only today. Interestingly, I didn't really realize I had anything to learn. IN this thread Erik explains his method of eating Pho
himself in case I forgot something.
According to Erik M the Pho broth, presentation and service (once our order was placed) at Tank today was the same as he has enjoyed at their smaller location east of the El station, which was very, very welcome news.
Another day well spent: I learned something new! Thanks again Erik!
"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie DupreeFacebook
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