Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill – Calgary, AB


Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill
36-55 Castleridge Boulevard NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 285-7830

Ok, so if you haven’t noticed, i like Pho. A lot. Im generally willing to try any Pho place twice, occasionally only once if it was terrible, even if it looks like it’ll be an unmitigated disaster.  I’ve had some bad experiences at some of my more favored places – so i want to give it a second try just in case i caught a great place on a bad day. Le Pho is a place i have to try again.

Le Pho is located deep in the heart of Little India – Castleridge Mall. A bit out of place amongst all the East Indian eateries, it caught my eye when i was on my way to Bombay Sweet House. In looking up their exact address, i realized there were 3 different Le Pho’s, with slightly different names. I’m not sure if they are all affiliated, but according to Urban Spoon, this one is affiliated with the one in the SE. Not quite Pho Hoa, but it’s described as a “chain” nonetheless.

food-219_filtered

For what it’s worth, the decor at Le Pho was clean, and dated. In my experiences, it’s hard to judge a Vietnamese restaurant based on its decor. Nice and clean doesnt necessarily mean that the food is good (Quynh in Sunridge is a perfect example of this… what terrible food). Dirty doesn’t mean it’s bad – i’ve seen cockroaches run around some Pho shops in Chinatown, and proceeded to have a really good bowl. However, i’ve developed a 6th sense just by looking at the clientele, what they are eating, and how happy and intent they look. I have to say, Le Pho wasn’t all that promising.

food-221

We ordered three standard tasting dishes,  goi cuon (salad rolls), a bowl of pho sate, and a bowl of bun thit nuong.

The salad rolls were excellent. The shrimp was fresh, there was fresh basil rolled inside (which i greatly prefer for texture, color, and flavour balance), and the noodles and greens were very crisp. The major issue was the skins, which were a bit tough and rubbery. But with a decent sauce, well balanced flavours of hoisin, chili, and fish sauce, these were a good start,

food-231

The Bun was actually quite disappointing. Generally speaking, i find the quality of the Bun Thit Nuong ($8.95) in Calgary to be pretty good. In conversation with a friend today, they mentioned that they felt the primary differences came down to the sauce for the meat, and the quality of the spring rolls. This was a bowl on the smaller size, with loads of ingredients. The problem was the flavours all kind of blended together, resulting in a slightly bland flavour. Good texture though.

food-235

The Pho Sate($8.00) was also quite disappointing as well. The broth was over MSG’d, leaving a very slightly chemically, overly salty taste. It lacked beef flavour, and the sate – well, i’ll let the photo speak for itself…it was bland and lacked any sort of peanut or chili character. The beef was actually quite good though – added rare, and sliced thin enough to stay quite tender. The noodles, however, were too firm and still all completely tangled. Overall, quite disappointing and unsatisfying.

Seeing as this was my first visit, I don’t wish to be overly critical. I have noticed i’ve been quite critical of many Pho restaurants in the past, and while i hold them to high standards for quality, there is the need to try and be as fair as possible. However, if it were for anything other than research, I would probably not return. Generally speaking, these outliers of Vietnamese restaurants (those outside the principle stretch of Pho restaurants between 16th Ave N and 17th Ave S), are usually much cheaper, though still quite hit or miss on quality. With Le Pho, we have average prices, and below average food. That’s not a winning combination.

Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill on Urbanspoon

About these ads

8 thoughts on “Le Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Grill – Calgary, AB

  1. I’ve only tried their Deerfoot Meadows location and it’s pretty good! Love the #19 or #37. Maybe give this one a shot although if you want to go on a weekday it’s always packed during lunch.

    • this place is awful go to bagolac saigon on 61st ave across from the c train station by chinook way better !!!

  2. HB – thanks for the insight. Do you know if they are all affiliated? I know the one on Macleod and the one in the NE are, but i didnt know the one in Deerfoot was.

    I’ll give them a try, and keep an eye out for #19 and #37.

  3. Knowing foodosopher, I am sure it won’t be the last pho sighting we’ll have on foodosophy. :) Who knows, maybe a direct from Vietnam pho report soon as well? ;)

  4. Now that would be something else. I’d go to Vietnam in a heart beat, but until I can convince one of my friends to go, I will live vicariously through that. Looking forward to what may come.

  5. I am a frequent customer of the deerfoot meadows location, I have tried many pho restuarents and I have to Say that none of the other locations even compared to the number 26 vermichilli with spring rolls beef and shredded pork. There spring rolls are also just delicious

  6. “The Management Was Atrocious”
    May 06, 2010 – Doesn’t like it – I am of Asian descent but born and raised in Calgary. My family & I have tried several Asian restaurants in Calgary in particular, Vietnamese restaurants as it has always been our first choice of food fare. I can tell you that of all the Vietnamese restaurants we have tried in Calgary, this restaurant wins the award for the worst in terms of customer service and food portions. This occurred in early April. We both ordered Bun or Vietnamese noodle dishes which listed 3 different kinds of meat and showed generous portions in the pictures of their menu. We couldn’t wait to eat and were excited to try a new restaurant. Our food arrived fairly quick but we were completely apalled by the portions. It looked like leftover crumbs of what you’d find at the bottom of a pan after you had dished out all the food. Maybe it was because we came an hour and a half before they closed. You literally had to dig through the noodles to find any meat or vegies for that matter which wasn’t fresh. Each peice of microscopic meat tasted okay and was very mainstream but far from any quality Vietnamese restaurant we’ve ever tried. The worst part of this experience was when we tried to voice our opinion on the food, they got mad at us and told us its always been this way. We only had a couple of bites each of our dish because we wanted to show management our bowls and maybe there was some kind of mistake. No one acknowledged my attempt in trying to get waitress to see our food. She somehow knew we were not happy because she kept on avoiding my hand gestures to come to the table . After not getting a response, I got up and asked to speak to the Manager who I’m assuming was the daughter of the older man minding the till. When I showed her, she said you should of told us earlier because your bowls had already been eaten and there is nothing they could do about it. I was insulted that she insinuated that my mother & I were making this up. I told her that Ive lived here all my life and tried almost every Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary but nothing as bad as this then she freaked out right in front of the remaining customers there raising her voice at me and my 73 year old mother and my 1 1/2 year old baby I was holding. Again, we were told that its always been this way and no has ever complained. My Mom & I knew this would be a losing battle so we decided to just pay and go and then she started yelling at us waving her hands in the air for us to pay even though my Mom was holding out her debit card to pay. At one point, her father had to physically hold her back and I had to tell her to stop yelling and stop pointing her fingers for us to pay. We felt insulted that they even insinuated we wouldn’t pay and we felt abused as a customer all because we were unhappy with the portion size and told them. We left starving and they still got our money out of us. I vowed to them that I would blog about how unprofessional and rude they were to us aside from their crappy portion size. So here it is. I hope no future customer will ever have to be on the receiving end of this woman’s unfair and uncalled for wrath. I will continue to write about this injustice on other websites when I can because no customer ever deserves this and just when you thought you would enjoy a nice meal out. It makes you want to stay home and eat your meals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s