A catchy name can make or break trying a restaurant, but only great food will keep most people going back. In Mission Viejo, Phở King Way might grab the attention due to the “catchy” name. However, it is the food that seems to keep packing in diners. Phở King Way opened last August, providing south Orange County with phở. Phở, of course is the popular Vietnamese noodle soup and Pho King Way's version holds it's own with any of the places in Little Saigon. For those in northern Orange County and the Long Beach area, there is also a location in Carson.
A visit to Phở King Way starts with an interesting way that they do menu choices. Instead of listing every different combination of phở, the menu lists five different choices of soup and then the diner makes their own combination. This may sound like it is not a big deal, but it eliminates the “I like this meat but not that” and allows guests to get exactly the combination they want. They also have Phở Ga, the chicken soup version, as well as shrimp, seafood, pork and vegetarian versions of the soup.
Besides the menu listings, Phở King Way has a daily special board. Common items on that include a bowl of phở with thinly sliced Kobe beef and a bowl of oxtail phở. The oxtail soup was excellent, the rich broth complemented by some nice pieces of oxtail. The oxtail was cooked perfectly, still holding together but with the meat accessible with a slight tug of the chopsticks. The phở broth, nice and rich to begin with, picked up an extra degree of richness from the simmering of the oxtails. As with all bowls of phở, it came with a plate of fresh basil, bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, and fresh lime for each diner to tailor it to their taste.
The phở gained an extra amount of unctuousness with the Kobe beef version. The phở broth was just enough to not overpower the delicate slices of raw Kobe beef that came on a side platter, to be added and cooked to taste by the diner. The taste of the beef was superb, nicely marbled and adding a nice amount of meltingly tender beef to the soup. This was well worth a try and an inte4rsting contrast from the standard eye of round steak that usually comes with phở.
The standard in Orange County for Phở Ga is at Bành Mì Chè Cali in Fountain Valley. Phở King Way's version gave it a good run for the money, with a nice broth and tender slices of chicken breast. Sliced red onions and scallions added extra flavor while the plate of lemon and the other herbs and vegetables added a nice, fresh taste.
The appetizers at Phở King Way were nicely done. The Gỏi Cuốn, the popular spring roll, came with two rolls and a nice peanut dipping sauce. The rolls were filled with nice slices of pork and tender shrimp, with nice fresh rice paper wrapped around the larger than usual size rolls. Other appetizers include garlic noodles, fried chicken wings and deep-fried eggrolls.
Phở King Way does not just have soup. There is a full menu of main dishes, including a half Cornish Game Hen with rice, stir-fried filet mignon cubes with rice and onion and a stir-fry with tofu. The Vietnamese version of fried rice also makes an appearance, available with shrimp, beef, chicken, seafood or Chinese sausage.
Bún, otherwise known as rice vermicelli, is an excellent choice for someone who does not soup. As is with the soup, you can choose the type and number of toppings for the vermicelli. Grilled beef, chicken, pork and shrimp are choices, with the fried eggrolls as another popular item. The bowl comes with nice fresh lettuce, scallions, carrots and other vegetables in it, as well as a nice hot, sour and sweet dressing to be poured over the vermicelli or used to dunk the toppings into. This was an excellent dish, healthy and flavorful.
The staff at Phở King Way is very helpful and friendly, willing to answer any questions about the food. As is with most ethnic restaurants, it is easy to tell by the mix of people in it how authentic it is. Phở King Way seems to have a good mix of clientele, showing that it satisfies the local Vietnamese population who are looking for a menu that is true to their origins, while pleasing those who may be novices to a Vietnamese meal and want a place they can experience the cuisine without feeling that they are out of place or cannot get help learning the menu.
The name, as shown on the website, says it serves phở in the way of the King, treating each customer as royalty. While the name with it's somewhat humorous, slightly risqué double entendre may cause one to pause, Phở King Way serves seriously good food. It is a welcome addition to the food scene in Mission Viejo and an authentic purveyor of the delicious tastes of Vietnam.
24000 Alicia Pkwy #22-23
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
940 E. Dominguez St #A
Carson, CA 90746