Chris Nguyen has learned a lot from his father, Manh, who founded Superior Pho in 2002.
A Vietnamese immigrant, Manh deeply appreciates the exacting techniques of French cooking, which he exposed to Nguyen through travel. The cuisines' overlaps are best experienced in the banh mi ($6.50), an explosion of spicy jalapenos, lush roast pork, super soft baguette, and house-made pate and mayo.
Manh once set a benchmark for excellence by throwing away an entire 16-quart pot of beef bone broth — the result of a 24-hour simmering process — because one ingredient was off. At the time, that could feed two days' worth of customers.
Finally, he taught Nguyen to treat each bowl ($12.50) like fine wine. The father encouraged his son to examine the pho's nose, body and finish and then smell each spice to examine slight flavor variations. Today, he credits that exploration of subtlety for Superior's superiority.
“A lot of restaurants overwhelm you with cinnamon, cardamom and other spices,” Nguyen says. “For us, the trick has been to be very subtle. That’s where the sense of comfort comes in.” superiorpho.com