The opening of Pho Colonial Vietnamese Diner is a welcomed addition to downtown Dallas which is speckled with great but expensive restaurants like Charlie Palmer at The Joule or greasy spoons and pizza joints. Pho Colonial, located just opposite the flagship Neiman Marcus store on the corner of Main and Ervay provides the population with a fresh alternative, great food at a mid range price point.
The Americanized set up may make you doubt it’s authenticity in the food. Diners are greeted by hot pink Vespas (the delivery vehicle) and cool retro bicycles as they walk in. You order at the counter like one would at Pei Wei Diner, get a number and wait for your food. A large flat screen tv plays sports and kitsch 80s music blares from the speakers. The waiters are just as cute, sporting faux hawks and wearing tight black tees that say “Got Pho?” We love introducing Pikelet & Lollo to authentic Vietnamese cuisine in such a fun environment.
Pho Colonial is the brainchild of Khanh Dao (previously of Steel Restaurant) who has made the daring move of opening two Pho Colonial restaurants almost simultaneously (the other is in North Dallas) since May this year. “ We are authentic Vietnamese. I mentioned that we want to expand like PeiWei and be its competitor only in counter service style and affordable casual sector of the restaurant industry”.
Though the name suggests it’s a pho house, the concept is really Vietnamese street food. “In Vietnam all over, you can go up to any open outdoor counter and eat Pho, Banh Mi, Bun and springs rolls. The dumplings are sold on the street as well. The shaken beef (bo luc lac) is really the only items not common to street eat and go,” says Dao. “Vietnamese street foods can be easily produced at high volume and is designed to package well for TOGO and deliveries.”
During the work week when Downtown’s population swells up to over 138,000 there are lines outside the door (read Leslie Brenner’s take from The Dallas Morning News - she liked it so much she went two days in a row) so we visit during the weekends when the downtown residential population is a calm 10,000.
The Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi) is my personal favorite especially the grilled lemongrass pork loin. Fragrant pieces of sweet pork slices, pickled vegetables and spicy jalapenos sandwiched in a crusty and yet soft French baguette. The combination is well balanced and so addictive that we’ve been known to make a downtown run in between our kids’ games on Saturdays.
Pikelet likes to fill up on the chef’s handmade dumplings and the traditional shrimp spring rolls. Lollo who has a penchant for clear soups usually order the chicken pho or the wonton noodle soup. Take note that there is a 9 minute wait time for the chef’s handmade dumplings. Same with the uber delicious crispy chicken wings with a 12 minute wait time. We usually ask that they fry them sans the jalapenos so the kids can enjoy them too.
While you’re downtown, check out YogenFruz across the street at the Mercantile Coffee House or dessert from the Lily Pad Cafe at the Main Street Gardens. Do a bit of retail therapy at Neiman Marcus and then visit the Dallas Farmer’s Market for this season’s produce. We’re pleased to see the downtown Dallas food scene blossoming and getting a flavor of it’s own – IttyBittyFoodies thinks it’s pho-nomenal!
For more info on hours, locations and all that good stuff, click on Pho Colonial.
Till our next Happy Meal!
ITTY BITTY INFO:
- Food: Authentic Vietnamese street food – think Bahn Mi (sandwiches), Pho (noodle soups), dumplings!
- Ambience: Casual, order at the counter, get a number and wait for the food.
- Service: Fast and friendly
- Kid Friendliness: We love the kitschy 80s music that makes the kids dance!
- Itty Bitty Foodies Tip: To avoid crowds, try after work hours and weekends
- Parent Foodies Tip: Lots of wines under $30