Oviedo has another Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Hoang Minh, and it has become quite popular since its September opening. So popular, in fact, that it has a hard time dealing with the crowds. At least that was the case when I stopped in for lunch earlier this month.
The small restaurant, located in a strip mall on Alafaya Trail north of UCF, was bustling with a late lunch crowd, and the dining room staff — which appeared to consist of two young men — had difficulty serving food, ringing checks, and turning the tables. I stood and waited a fairly long time for one of the vacated tables to be readied. I would have left to go somewhere else, but I had already walked out of another nearby restaurant because it was so crowded (I’ll tell you about that one another time — apparently it’s worth revisiting).
When I was finally seated and able to order, I chose the beef noodle soup (pho) with eye of round steak and well done flank. The broth was meaty and well seasoned and full of beef and noodles and dotted with bits of chopped scallions. It was served with a plate of fresh basil, a wedge of lime and bean sprouts. It was, as phos tend to be, a massive serving, but I managed to slurp and sip most of it.
I wasn’t as enamored with the appetizer of an Imperial Roll, a deep-fried egg roll that was touted to have ground pork and shrimp inside, though I could detect neither by taste nor sight.
The interior is painted bright red and has murals of bamboo and cherry blossoms. The restaurant is owned by a couple that used to have a restaurant in Allentown, Penn. Hoang Minh, I was told, is the name of the owners’ nephew.
Pho Hoang Minh isn’t exactly a name that trips off the tongue, at least not the tongue of a Westerner. But the food plays well enough with the tongue’s taste buds.
Pho Hoang Minh is in the Alafaya Square Center at 1361 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. There is no website. Most of the soups are in the $7.50-$8.50 range. The phone number is 407-542-7855.