Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pho Republique: Pu Pu, Moo Shu & Pho

Since I enjoy The Beehive, I thought I might also enjoy their sister restaurant, Pho Republique. It is also located in the South End, but on Washington Street. Now it is not always a given that I will like related restaurants. But the menu at Pho enticed me so I made reservations to dine there this past weekend. And I am very glad that I did.

Pho Republique is a fusion French-Vietnamese restaurant so it is not intended to be fully authentic. The cuisine sometimes has other Asian influences, such as Thai or Cambodian.. It is a medium-sized restaurant with a funky, Asian themed decor that avoids being kitschy. We were seated at a table near the front windows, allowing us to people watch, and the restaurant filled up rather quickly. It is certainly a popular place, especially on a weekend night.

Their drink menu has plenty of exotic drinks and martinis, such as the Lychee Martini ($9), Indochine Punch ($8) and the Emerald Dragon Martini ($8.50). They also have a small but diverse wine list. I was most curious about their Sake menu. Sake is available by the glass, half-bottle or full bottle and ranges from Sparkling Sake to Junmai Ginjo. I knew almost all of the Sake brands, and they are generally good ones though I was hoping for a few more exotic and unique choices. I ordered a glass of Kaori ($8), a Junmai Ginjo, which I know well and enjoy. It was as good as usual.

The food menu is divided into three sections: Dim Sum (appetizers), Specialities (Entrees) and Sides. Prior to our food arriving, we received a basket of crispy wontons with a sweet dip. They were crunchy and addictive, though I think they would have been even better if they were served warm.

There are about ten items in the Dim Sum section, prices ranging from approximately $8-$12.95. You can also order the Pu Pu Platter ($24.81), which contains portions of six different appetizers. We decided on the Pu Pu Platter as several of the appetizers sounded good and we wanted to sample several of them. The platter contained steamed shrimp shu mai, chicken & ginger potstickers, crispy sashimi tuna springrolls, candied garlic spareribs, fried tofu squares, and rangoon springrolls. There was plenty of food on the platter and it easily could serve 2-3 people.

The candied garlic spareribs were my favorite items on the platter. They were very meaty and the meat nearly fell off the bone. They also had a delicious sweet taste with a subtle garlic flavor. They are different than the usual spareribs you find at other Asian restaurants, with more meat and less fat and bone. The chicken & ginger potstickers, similar to potstickers at other restaurants, were also very good, filled with plenty of tasty meat. Nearly the entire inside of the dumpling was filled with meat. The steamed shrimp shu mai, also similar to what you find elsewhere, were tasty. The crispy sashimi tuna springrolls were actually slices of a large roll with a big chunk of fresh, raw tuna in them, plus some rice, avocado and lettuce. I did not care for the fried tofu, but then I have never cared for tofu. I also did not like the rangoon springrolls as they contained a lot of cream cheese, something else I do not like though my dining companion enjoyed them.

There are around ten Specialities on the menu, with a few variations on some of the dishes, and prices range from approximately $13.95-$24.00, with most of the dishes under $20. The Moo Shu Crispy Duck Wraps ($24) was quite a large dish with plenty of pieces of duck. The duck pieces were not mere shreds. They were small slices, some rather thick, with a delicious crispy exterior and very little fat. They sat atop a plate of veggies and you received a stack of soft moo shu wraps with sauce. An excellent dish that was well worth the price.

We also ordered the Pho Soup Combination ($14.95), which contained beef, chicken and dumplings. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish. I liked the fact the Pho here is made from scratch so you can have it any way you want. You get a choice between rice noodles or egg noodles and I chose the later. The soup broth was delicious, with prominent flavors of chicken and lemongrass. There were some good-sized pieces of tender beef and chicken in the soup, along with two plump and meaty dumplings. I was very happy with my Pho and would recommend it.

Service was excellent and our server was pleasant, personable, and attentive. Overall, I enjoyed this restaurant and they had some very delicious dishes. I would highly recommend the candied garlic spareribs. It certainly seems like it also would be a fun place to have drinks and appetizers at the bar. I will return there and hope to see you there too.

Pho Republique
1415 Washington St.
Boston, MA
Phone: 617-262-0005

Pho Republique on Urbanspoon

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