Nestled in a large shopping center on the corner of North Lemon Street and East Orangethorpe Avenue, Pho 88 Restaurant should be your first choice of noshing possibilities. The exterior is non-descript but when you walk in you know you are in a Pho shop. Tables line the small dining room with numbered napkin holders (signifying your table number). Come on in and someone will escort you to the first available table. Don’t be discouraged by the enormous menu. It’s mostly just choices of different toppings and meat offerings. The scent of their broth will help make up your mind. Keep in mind the size – small and large. I know it’s just soup, but the large is a hearty portion. I would recommend you try the small first and then next time, you can gauge how hungry you are.
If you like Vietnamese Coffee, Pho 88 makes a good one. It’s strong, but has a smooth flavor. If you like espresso or café au lait, this is the drink for you! You can have it hot or cold. It’s mixed with sweetened condensed milk which gives it a sweet, yet creamy, almost buttery finish. It’s a winner! I get it every time I dine there. Thumbs up, way up!
#36 is Won Ton & BBQ Pork with egg noodles. Their broth is amazing! The egg noodles did a great job soaking up the flavors. The won ton was soft and silky like a Japanese gyoza. The BBQ pork was tender and had a good Asian BBQ flavor, not too sweet and added a rich pork flavor to the broth. Thumbs up!
#18 is Pho with Rare Steak, Well-Done Flank, and Tripe. It comes with all of the fixings (bean sprouts, basil, fresh slices of jalapeno, and lemon wedges). This is my all-time favorite pho! You get the best of everything. The rare sliced steak was tender and flavorful. The hot broth will cook your steak pretty quickly, so eat it first if you like it rare. The well-done brisket was super-tender and broke apart with ease so you can get just the right amount with a bunch of noodles. The book tripe was sliced up in slivers giving you a chewy, crunchy texture, yet it soaked up the flavor of the soup. I LOVE this soup, especially on a rainy day! Thumbs up, way up!
#65 is Bún served with Grilled Short Ribs and Shrimp Paste in Tofu Wrap, beans sprouts, lettuce, carrots, sliced cucumbers, diced peanuts, and their special sweet & sour fish sauce. This is the perfect dish when it’s warm outside. I like to describe it as a Vietnamese salad with noodles. The short ribs were cooked to perfection. The marinade they use was like a Vietnamese teriyaki sauce but not as sweet with hints of more sesame (seeds and oil). Lots of meat to gnaw on! The vegetables were fresh and crisp. The shrimp paste was more like a shrimp cake. I’m used to a fine grind Japanese-style fishcake. This was more of a course grind so you could tell what was in it – big chunks of shrimp. It was so good! There are so many flavors in here that you just need a little bit of the fish sauce to use as a “dressing”, but you can adjust to your own taste. Thumbs up, way up!
If it’s a cold, rainy day or if the sun is shining bright, Pho 88 Restaurant is the perfect place to go in Orange County.
Atmosphere: 3 out of 5 stars
Service: 4 out of 5 stars
Décor: 3 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
Pho 88 Restaurant
1121 S Lemon St
Fullerton, CA 92832-3004