We love our pho restaurants, but it's rare to find one around Phoenix that gives off "fancy date night" or "special occasion" vibes. Cue Song Lynn Vietnamese Cuisine in Surprise.
It’s located in a sunbaked strip mall at Litchfield and Waddell roads that's also home to Venue Taproom and Uptown Alley. The Song Lynn sign is the same shade of panic-button red as the Papa John’s a few suites down.
Inside, though, things get elegant quickly. Separate greeting area with a hostess stand. Large aquarium bubbling. Sleek, modern dining room, with huge, colorful light fixtures hanging dramatically from the ceiling. It’s a scene, man.
The food itself is home-style. Starters here include spring rolls, but options include marinated and grilled beef, pork, and chicken. There are also chicken wings with garlic butter or lemon pepper sauce and fried shrimp rolls. We went with the egg rolls and marinated, grilled pork spring rolls. The egg rolls were fine, but the pork spring rolls were next-level, heavy with thick slices of pork enhanced by thin, tangy fish sauce.
For pho, we had to go for the Song Lynn Combination, a mix of rare and well-done beef, with beef meatballs, brisket, tendon, and tripe. This was a fantastic bowl, topped with white onions, green onions, and cilantro, and served with a side of bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos, lime, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha. It's ... a lot, maybe a little much if you’re used to plain beef pho. On a future visit, we’ll be trying the plain beef or even the spicy Vietnamese beef noodle soup.
They do fried rice well here, heaping it generously on a stylish square plate. It’s cooked with eggs, bean sprouts, and onion, and can come with shrimp, beef, chicken, or tofu.
Something of note: Song Lynn also offers beer, wine, and cocktails — including signature drinks like the Song Lynn's Pho King Cocktail (vodka, Sprite, ginger, lime, mint, and sugar) and even the hyper-topical The COVID Cure (vodka, cranberry, ginger, Sprite, lime, mint). Also, not all its cocktails have Sprite.
Our real Song Lynn rave is about the service. Seating is easy and attention is immediate. Glasses are never half empty, the server is quick to pop over an extra order of chili sauce, and — surprisingly — your leftovers are taken from you to be boxed up and joined with fresh sauces (they give you a new to-go cup of whatever dipping sauce accompanied your dish). Every thank you is returned with “It’s my pleasure.” Like we said: fancy.
Song Lynn Vietnamese Cuisine is open at 13749 North Litchfield Road, Suite G109, in Surprise. There is also a second location at 2755 North 91st Avenue.
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