By Krin Mims
A few years ago I lucked into trying food from a Vietnamese Noodle Bar, and I was instantly hooked. In my limited experience, I’ve found that what most Vietnamese restaurants lack in décor or overall ambiance, they make up for in quality of food. Pho King on Tiny Town Road in Clarksville is no different.
I’m fairly certain I’ve driven by this restaurant, located in a small strip mall, numerous times without a second thought. Parking is not abundant as they share it with other businesses in the area, but it was adequate and clean. There are no frills to Pho King’s interior. However, I feel they are doing the best they can with the establishment they have. It is tight inside — tables line both walls with another row of tables close enough you could eat from your neighbor’s plate.
I was impressed with the movement and hustle of the staff. We were seated within 30 seconds of entering. Each table had a caddy with multiple sauces, chopsticks and other useful condiments. Their menu is simple and straight forward presenting a variety of both Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. To begin, we ordered a traditional a bành mi, Bubble tea and spring rolls with peanut sauce.
We were pleasantly surprised at the speed of the staff and cooks. Everything was very fresh and flavorful. The spring rolls were full of carrots, shrimp, cucumber and lettuce. They were served with a peanut dipping sauce, a standard in most Vietnamese restaurants. Our bành mi was stuffed with beautiful herbs, carrots, cucumber, thinly sliced meats and a savory mayonnaise spread. It was my husband’s favorite part of the meal.
The frozen Bubble tea was delicious and refreshing on a hot evening. They offered a large variety of Bubble teas and served them frozen or on ice.
Along with the tea, we ordered one of their signature pho dishes and a Japanese dish, in order to get a good feel of the entire menu. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup served with meats and a side dish of various peppers, limes, bean sprouts and Thai basil. Served nearly boiling hot, the broth had great depth and flavor. There was a large amount of chicken and meatballs, and I had everything I needed to personalize my pho to my own palate. I personally love to use herbs, sprouts, sriracha, fish sauce and lime. I was very impressed with the size as I ordered the small version and could not finish it all.
My husband ordered the chicken teriyaki served with a great deal of shrimp, vegetables and rice. It was seasoned well, and we were once again taken aback with the large serving size. I would consider it fairly standard Japanese cuisine found at most Hibachi restaurants; however, it’s nice to know a picky eater can be pleased at here as well.
While we were not overwhelmed by the décor or scattered interior of Pho King, we were very impressed by their quick service, kind staff, affordable prices and incredible Vietnamese food. We will absolutely return but, most likely, grab it to go.
Location: 1820 Tiny Town Road, Clarksville.
Phone: (931) 896-2222
Try at home: Spring rolls
Spring Rolls are so much easier than they look! Rice paper wrappers are fairly easy to find at most major grocery stores. Ingredients vary, but most restaurants use sticky rice, herbs (such as Thai basil, cilantro and mint), thinly sliced carrot sticks, thinly sliced cucumber sticks, and shrimp. Rice paper wrappers usually have exact instructions on the packaging and only require a little bit of warm water. This would be a fun family activity creating personalized spring rolls.
Be sure to try: I was thrilled with Pho King’s signature chicken pho. They have several to choose from, and I’m sure all of them would be excellent.