There are no frills but big, tasty rewards at the AsiaTown mainstay.
Even getting there is a chore — the entrance hidden behind an uninviting building on Superior Avenue. The service, mostly college kids, is workmanlike — customers sit at numbered tables. You're given ticket stubs to retrieve the check. The message is clear: Get in, grab a table and get slurping. Screw the rest. "There is nothing fancy about pho," says owner Manh Nguyen. Because, really, that's why you come to Superior Pho: menu option No. 5 (large $9.25, small $8.25). Pho chin sach in Vietnamese, its savory, well-done brisket and chewy beef tripe swim with delicate rice noodles in symphonic beef broth (the exact ingredients and preparation of which are a zealously guarded secret). It's good enough to risk everything for — exactly what Nguyen did when he mortgaged his house in 2002 to start the restaurant. Each 80-quart batch is carefully brewed, made from his mother's recipe. "I hate to talk about it. We don't ever talk about it," he says, laughing. "But it's tedious. It takes time." Perhaps the mystique helps keep the regulars coming back — the hidden entrance, the shadowy dining room, the mysterious steaming-hot oh-so-good concoction. It's religious. And we are unabashed converts. Don't Miss: The mi thit sandwich ($5.95) is both light and meaty — a balanced mix of snappy pickled vegetables and French-tinged pork pate. Heat Check: Use the bottles of Sriracha and fish sauce, sparingly. "It's very seldom that I add Sriracha to my pho," Nguyen says, "only when I have a craving or when I get the meatball pho." 3030 Superior Ave. E, Cleveland, 216-781-7462, superiorpho.comShare this story: