On the surface, Pho A.V., the tiny, six-month-old Vietnamese restaurant in North Phoenix, looks like many of the no-frills spots throughout the Valley: fluorescent lights, a modest assembly of tables and booths, a buzzing cooler.
But through its doors hung with white lace curtains, in the back of the room on a blush-pink wall where an antenna connects to a television that is never turned on, there are three large black-and-white photographs. And it's through these images that you start to understand what this modest spot of traditional Vietnamese dishes and its owner, Phat Pham Tan, are all about.
Is it possible to appreciate a restaurant not only for its food but also for the people behind it?
In the case of Pho A.V., it is.
Here's an excerpt from this week's review:
"The pho is the dish that Tan does best. His beef broth, a concoction of beef bones, onions, spices like ginger and star anise, and, when budget permits, oxtail, is simmered for seven to eight hours, its rich and meaty taste as comforting as it is delicious. You can have it as pho thap cam, the beef combination soup highlighted with slices of beef, beef meatballs, brisket, and a few scant pieces of tripe and tendon -- a reality that may cause offal lovers to grumble.
Hungry for more? Read my full review of Pho A.V.
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