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Definitely Pho Sure

Authentic Vietnamese favorites come to the Santa Clarita Valley

Posted: June 24, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: June 24, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Pho Sure is located in the Tesoro Village Shopping Plaza. Pho Sure is located in the Tesoro Village Shopping Plaza.
Pho Sure is located in the Tesoro Village Shopping Plaza.
Nina Tran is the owner of Pho Sure. Nina Tran is the owner of Pho Sure.
Nina Tran is the owner of Pho Sure.
Vermicelli with grilled shrimp, egg rolls and charbroiled beef. Vermicelli with grilled shrimp, egg rolls and charbroiled beef.
Vermicelli with grilled shrimp, egg rolls and charbroiled beef.
Shrimp Spring Rolls. Shrimp Spring Rolls.
Shrimp Spring Rolls.
Meals of dreams: Clockwise from front, Shrimp Spring Rolls, vermicelli with egg rolls and beef, Strawberry Boba, sweet tea with orange and mint, and Pho Dac Biet soup, which you can spice up as you like it. Meals of dreams: Clockwise from front, Shrimp Spring Rolls, vermicelli with egg rolls and beef, Strawberry Boba, sweet tea with orange and mint, and Pho Dac Biet soup, which you can spice up as you like it.
Meals of dreams: Clockwise from front, Shrimp Spring Rolls, vermicelli with egg rolls and beef, Strawberry Boba, sweet tea with orange and mint, and Pho Dac Biet soup, which you can spice up as you like it.
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It's a great little play on words, right? Pho Sure? Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is such a surely delicious thing that, well, you get it. And you must try it, for sure. In fact, you must try the other items on the menu at Pho Sure restaurant in Valencia - which has only been open a couple weeks and has already attracted regular patrons.

"We've been open 11 days and a lot of customers come back all the time," owner Nina Tran said this past Tuesday. "One man, and another couple, they come in every day. They say the food is healthy and not too heavy. It makes me very happy."

Tran said that Pho Sure is the first authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the Santa Clarita Valley, and that would probably explain why I don't remember having Vietnamese food before. Shame on me, because everything I sampled at Pho Sure was heavenly.

As the restaurant name would indicate, Pho is the most featured item, and I will offer a brief overview of the dish here, but the menu also includes all sorts of deliciousness that only an experienced Vietnamese food aficionado would know by name. But the categories include other types of soups, familiar appetizers such as egg rolls, dumplings and tofu, vermicelli dishes of all kinds and even baguette sandwiches. Specialty dishes include such things as Vietnamese chicken curry and grilled salmon with rice. There are rice dishes featuring a variety of meats, including marinated Cornish game hen or shrimp. There are desserts, including flan and cheesecake, and non-alcoholic drinks that will blow you away, such as various flavors of Boba, and a magnificent sweet iced tea with orange and mint.

The dishes are suitable for lunch or dinner, and the portions are extremely generous. Of the three dishes I sampled, all three could easily have fed two people. Main dish and appetizer prices range from $5.25 to $13.95, with most coming in the $6 to $9 range.

Tran said that she not only wanted to introduce SCV residents to the wonders of Vietnamese food, but also to create a restaurant that offers something different - where a customer can relax in a nice environment. "We keep it clean, offer good food and have a friendly staff," she said. "Customer service is important to us. We want them to come back."

Tran also said that Vietnamese food is very healthy, featuring lots of vegetables and using less oil than other types of cooking. And her love of cooking family recipes goes into everything. The Pho is a good example, with the broth cooked 15 to 16 hours in preparation.

And, speaking of Pho, here is your explanation: It is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is served in a bowl with white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (but you can also get tendon, tripe, meatballs, chicken leg, chicken breast, etc.). There's a lot more that goes into the soup, such as onions, and you also get a plate of "accessories" you can add to your taste. Mine included basil, lime, bean sprouts and jalapeno slices. And, you also have savory Hoisin and spicy Sriracha sauces to add as you like.

While Tran was organizing my dishes, I chatted with Gabriella Castro, who works near the restaurant and said she had been in five times since it opened. "I love it," Castro said. "Pho is my favorite." And she said she has tried it with several meats.

So, OK, then, here came my Pho, and it was my turn to enjoy.

Pho Dac Biet (P1 on the menu and $7.95): I rolled the dice and tried the Pho with thin slices of steak, tripe and tendon and I have to admit, all three were great. But, really, the flavor in this dish comes from the slow-cooked broth, which I found outstanding and could have eaten all by itself. The rice noodles provided a good base, the onion and other spices rounded things out and the huge bowl of wonders could feed two or three people, if you don't mind sharing soup. Adding in the bean sprouts for crunch, the basil for pop and the Hoisin and Sriracha sauces for accent elevated the experience to another dimension. But be careful adding the jalapenos.

Shrimp Spring Rolls (A2 on the menu and $5.95): These rolls are great food and great art. Shrimp, lettuce, rice noodles and mint are rolled into semi-transparent rice paper, with herb accents - and the result is visually tempting to start. Then you bite into an astonishing combination of light and fresh flavors, and then you dip into the sweetened peanut sauce - and Oh my!

Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong Tom Nuong (B10 on the menu and $8.25): This is fresh Vietnamese vermicelli with grilled shrimp, egg rolls and charbroiled beef or pork (I had the beef). It comes with a sweet fish sauce for the egg rolls, which Tran said are made with taro, shrimp, mushroom, glass noodles and carrots. The egg rolls, themselves, were terrific, with the sauce perfecting the taste. The beef was amazingly flavorful and the other accents in the bowl (chives and carrots and peanuts) came together with the vermicelli in another delight sufficient to feed two people.

Strawberry Boba ($3.50): Tran made sure I tried some Boba, which is so rich and sweet and filling you should probably not have it with a meal, but come in for it when you need to cool off.

Tra Da Cam Duong (D5, $2.75): This is described as sweet iced tea with orange and mint. Thick and ultra-sweet, this was like nothing I had ever had, and it, also, deserves sipping by itself on a warm afternoon.

Pho Sure is located at 23876 Copper Hill Drive, Valencia, CA 91354 (in the Tesoro Village Shopping Plaza, next to Red Brick Pizza). The phone number is (661) 257-3888. The website is www.phosurevalencia.com. The restaurant is open seven days a week, Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the rest of the week the hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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