Pho Binh By Night

Pho Binh By Night
12148 Bellaire Blvd, Suite 101
Houston, TX 77072
(832) 351-2464
Rating: 8
Sometimes I find it really amusing when white people think they’ve discovered some Asian dish and they rave about it to me (Me. Who is clearly Asian. Hello lines for eyes.) as if it’s some brand new thing that totally did not exist before they ate it. Pho is one of these foods. But…despite my obvious, below the surface racism, I actually have to thank my fellow Americans for letting me know about Pho Binh by Night.  Alison Cook’s article had me at bone marrow. (Which, incidentally, is another food trend that bugs me. Yes, it is delicious meat butter, but it’s also scrap that they sell at Chinese grocery stores for next to nothing. You really should not be charging people $20 for 2 bone scraps, especially when you’re really not doing anything too creative cooking it. Most of the time it is overcooked and the fat has melted too much to be worth anything. And some restaurants serve it chopped instead of sliced lengthwise, which makes it impossible to get the fat out. The only place I’ve had the perfect bone marrow is from the Modular Food Truck, where the bone marrow is cooked perfectly, you get a huge piece, sliced lengthwise, and they do not charge you an arm and a leg for it. But I digress. Same with pork belly. Western restaurants include way too much meat in the meat to fat ratio. But again I digress.)

To get back to the point, Pho Binh by night is open until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays (and midnight during the rest of the week). This is perfect for Aaron and I as we are both nightowls and tend to eat dinner very late. For example, our datenight last night consisted of going to the gym at 9pm, 13 Celsius for wine at 1am, then dinner at 230am. After a couple of glasses of wine, we both wanted some sort of comforting soup broth based dinner, and pho was the obvious (and really the only) choice.

We both got the medium #9 and added meatballs, steamed bean sprouts, and of course a side bowl of bone marrow. The bone marrow is not on the menu, you have to ask for it.

He ate: This is clearly the right choice. It’s just so awesome. You get in, you get out (just like how I like my women). I love fatty meats and tendons, both of which you can get here. I’m not  a fan of clear broth soups or soup noodles (Amy kills me for this since she practically wants to drown in noodle soups and sometimes brings this to the bedroom fantasies). When I do order soup, I always stick with lobster bisques (yada yada yada) or some sort of cream based soup. So, for me to like pho is a pretty difficult task. The broth is VERY flavorful. You can tell they cooked the bones to make the stock for a very long time. The soup to solid food ratio is also perfect for me, since I like food>liquid. I give this place a sold three thumbs up.
She ate: Totally agree with Aaron. Even though I’m more of a liquid>food person, the ratio works for me. Plus, when you ask for a bowl of bone marrow on the side, it comes in more broth. Usually I spoon out just the marrow and add it in my big bowl, whereas Aaron pretty much dumps the entire thing in. I find that to be too greasy but to each his own. I usually get a small size bowl. The medium is probably a large in regular restaurants, and the large sized is made for giants (one day I shall conquer the large bowl. ) The #9 is our favorite with flank steak, tendons, rare round steak, and last night we added meatballs just for the hell of it. I wish they gave us more meatballs, as we only got maybe 5 tiny pieces in each bowl.
Last time I went, I asked the waitress what her favorite is. She said the chicken soup, which sounded incredibly boring to me, but I ordered it just for the heck of it. It turned out to be delicious. The soup was simple, the chicken was sliced dark meat, which is more tender and not fatty as most people think, and it came with half a hard boiled egg (FTW).
I’ve also gotten the sour plum drink here. It is an acquired taste. It’s sour, sweet, and salty all at the same time. I recommend it.
Other interesting pho places:
Pho Saigon:
This place is in midtown Houston, only ten minutes from our house, whereas Pho Binh By Night is in Alief. That’s not even in Houston. But really it’s only a bit past Chinatown, and about 25 minutes from our house. Get the #18 and ask for egg in broth on the side. They literally put broth in a small bowl and crack an egg in it. You dump it into your big bowl and let it “cook” for 5 minutes or less, then spoon out just the egg yolk, dip a piece of steak in it, and eat the steak. Then, put a bit of noodles and broth in the spoon with the remaining egg yolk and slurp up that perfect bite.

Pho Ga Dakao:

I’ve never been here, but I hear they have pho with chicken heart, liver, crispy skin and gizzard. These are all my favorite things. In noodle soup form.

(Image courtesy of Urban Spoon)

Truthfully, this picture kind of freaks me out. It’s like a miniature human heart you’d see on Scrubs or stupid Grey’s Anatomy or stupid ER. But I shall overcome my freaked outness when I’m stuffing my face with this delicious, delicious sexy beast of a soup.

Funny story: My friend’s boyfriend told him they were going to Pho Ga Dakao, but because of his strong Vietnamese accent, my friend thought they were going to Fogo da Chao. He got all dressed up and was very confused when they arrived at the restaurant. BOOM roasted.

tl; dr: Pho Binh by Night is the bomb dot com, get the bone marrow.

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3 thoughts on “Pho Binh By Night

  1. […] and a small whole wheat banh mi with vegetables and pork meatballs. I’ve been really into meatballs lately, I don’t know […]

  2. […] to Alison Cook’s article & H8 & She8 (a great new food review blog – keep it up […]

  3. amychien says:

    Thanks for reading! We love you guys.

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