Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Dec. 20
Pho Filet Mignon at Pho Fifth Avenue
I decided to drop by Pho Fifth Avenue for a bowl of steaming Pho a couple of days ago. Though you pay the Hillcrest premium and the portions are on the smaller side (not necessarily a bad thing), I've found the broth at the shop to my liking.
I was suprised to see "Filet Mignon Pho" written on the grease board. Not cheap at $9.25 for a small bowl, $11.25 for a large. I enjoy the Filet Mignon Pho served at places like Pho Thanh Lich in Westminster.
So far, my visits to Mignon Pho on Convoy have not been very satisfying; at times the broth has had an almost artificial taste to it, almost metallic in flavor.
The way to make the most out of filet mignon with your bowl is to have it on the side and the temperature of the broth has not been up to the task of lightly cooking the filet.
At Pho Fifth Avenue, you'll get no other cuts with your bowl; though the folks here are very accommodating, so I wouldn't be surprised if they'd serve just about any combination you'd request.
The broth is mildly beefy and fairly dark. The anise flavor is to my taste, so I don't really need to add much basil or Ngo Ngai (culantro - which you can request).
It is on the salty side so I temper that with a squeeze or two of lime. I think an additional bit of pungency via onions and a bit more cilantro wouldn't hurt.
Of course the star of the show is the filet, which is cut into just the right thickness for me. There was also a bit more of it than I had anticipated. The temperature was nice and steaming, all of which made the dipping of the tender morsels of meat into the broth to lightly cook more rewarding. In the end, it is a texture thing with filet and these almost melted away, unlike the flavorless and shoe-leather like top round.
Overall, a nice decent bowl. I was told that they've had Pho Filet Mignon as a special for a couple of months and will keep it as long as they have access to filet. Hopefully, I'll be able to check it out again before it's erased from that grease board.
Pho Fifth Avenue 3807 5th Ave San Diego, CA 92103