Com Pho (Vietnamese), Shimokitazawa

I'd like to feature today this Vietnamese restaurant which we used to patronize quite frequently five years ago or so, "Com Pho". We stopped going there when we felt like somehow the great food quality had gone down (and I believe the cooks had changed) and because of an appetite inhibiting bathroom odor that used to float in the air and which was getting stronger and stronger at the time.

So we hadn't been paying much attention to the restaurant for years until we recently saw a sign outside the restaurant advertising its "Tom Yam Kung Pho". I am a HUGE FAN of the Tom Yam Kung Ramen at Tinun Shibuya so I got tempted, knowing how exciting it would be to discover closer to home the Vietnamese remix of the dish.

You can imagine how quickly I gave my nostrils the odor test when entering the classy restaurant. This is by the way one thing that has not changed from the beginning: the decoration has always been quite upscale for a Vietnamese in Shimokitazawa. There still subsists a suspect smell but I couldn't tell whether it came from the condiments used in the kitchen or from you know where...

We sat down and (in spite of all the prior fantasy over the Tom Yam Kung noodle) ended up ordering the Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) which we thought was a better approach to knowing whether they had a decent cook or not, just like you should always order the Tamago (sweet egg omelette) in a Sushi joint to have a better idea on the house abilities.

In case you're not aware of what Pho is, here's your wiki article for a basic notion.

Quickly after ordering, the waitress put a dish of Moyashi (bean sprout) in front of us, which you can help yourself from as a free topping on your Pho. Too bad Com Pho doesn't also bring you all those herbs and leaves you can top on your dish, like they do in Vietnam.

The bowl that got to us was rather large and smelling good. I have to say that the first aroma didn't come close to what we had in Vietnam, but it was still a good reminder of what we had in that incredible country (should you be interested, here is a photo collection of our trip there).

The preset toppings were boiled chicken, chopped leek, long cuts of Nira garlic chives and bean sprouts.
The soup was pretty basic and tasted a bit too strong in what I think was chicken bouillon so I added lemon juice to smoothen it and a lot of hot chili sauce to add a kick to it.

As you can see, the rice noodles Pho are flat and their tenderness (I probably let them in the soup too long, busy that I was taking pictures) combined well with the soup. I supersized them for ¥100 and it was just enough for my hungry stomach so please do so if you think you can handle it no problem.

So, it's definitely not like what we ate in south-east Asia, but for ¥830 (when supersized) I think this makes for a very decent lunch when you're tired of eating Japanese food or simply want something slightly exotic.

They also have a rather extensive menu for dinner that's not expensive, so please give it a try and let me know how it was! In the meantime, I will definitely try the Tom Yam Kung Pho...

Com Pho is open everyday from noon to midnight (L.O. at 22:30)
Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-13-4
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