Sometimes you’re looking for a date-night spot that requires a fancy outfit. Sometimes you need a place with a not-impossible parking situation. And sometimes, you just want a fun spot that serves good food. Next time that’s the case, consider Phở Bắc Sup Shop in the International District. It’s a cool, casual place to eat phở and Vietnamese bar snacks, and it belongs in your rotation. (It happens to have easy parking, too.)
You’re here first and foremost for phở, and you won’t be disappointed. We like the brisket and meatball bowls a lot, but our favorites are the massive short rib bowl and the special off-menu, only-available-sometimes phở with an entire half-chicken that’s been slow-poached in broth. (Your server will tell you whether this is available, and if it is, you want it.) This chicken version is the kind of phở we’d find a way to shrink ourselves for, if it meant we could dive into the bowl and hang out on a drumstick—where’s Rick Moranis when you need him? There are also delicious small plates, like pork and shrimp eggrolls, french fries with an herby lemongrass sauce, and double-fried wings with a tamarind coating.
Atmosphere-wise, this is a low-key place to come with friends and have a very good time. There are televisions above the bar playing an endless loop of music videos, there’s a big neon sign announcing that you’re in the “Phởcific Northwest,” and there’s even a photo booth in the back corner by the bar. In between drinks and soup, hop in for a few minutes to pass the time, even if it’s just to get some shots of you and your car keys celebrating how easy it was to find a spot.
The crowd is casual, ranging from big groups of friends to parents with screaming children, and it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait for a table. Which is a good thing, because you’re not going to want to wait any longer than necessary to take your seat, relax, and eat some quality phở.
Two crisp eggrolls whose brittle crunch gives way to a juicy pork and prawn mixture inside, served with fish sauce for dipping. Get multiples.
Perfectly-cooked diner-style french fries with a creamy lemongrass dip. They’re outrageously good, and thus, worth your time.
The brisket phở is our favorite of the beef options (fatty brisket, tendon, steak, tripe, meatballs), and there’s a lot to like about it—maybe most of all the comforting aromatic broth.
This is a massive bowl of phở containing some equally-as-massive short ribs. The meat is tender and delicious—you may need to pick up the bones and gnaw at them a little to fully appreciate it. Seize the day, as they say.
If they have the special slow-cooked chicken phở available, you’re getting it—it’s the best soup in the house. It contains an entire half-chicken that’s been poached in broth, and topped with crispy shallots. The chicken meat is super moist, and you can add seasoning with the bowl of salt and pepper and the lime that come on the side. This is pretty much perfect.