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Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Walla Walla restaurant ‘Pho Sho’ serves quality food at reasonable prices

Credit: Klein
Credit: Klein

My first exposure to pho, a type of Vietnamese noodle soup, was at Pho Sho, Walla Walla’s only Vietnamese pho shop. I enjoyed it tremendously.  

The meal was reasonably priced and of high quality. My friends and I agreed that the food was delicious.

We were hoping for a sit-down meal with waiters and waitresses, a meal quite different from our usual Prentiss and Jewett encounters.  

Unfortunately, the restaurant has more of a deli format. Diners order at the counter and then seat themselves. Condiments, cutlery and water are self-serve, like in the dining halls.

We went on a Wednesday night at 8 p.m., an hour before closing. Besides a single diner, we were the only people in the restaurant. The “waitress” continued to wipe down the tables when we entered. We were caught off guard: should we seat ourselves?

She looked up at us, still bent over the table, and invited us to take a seat at the only table that sat more than three people. So the four of us obliged and sat awkwardly at a table for 12: a very cafeteria-like table, I might add.

When a member of our group refrained from ordering, the waitress informed us that loitering is prohibited. She was nice enough to allow us to stay, but we felt uncomfortable.

The “waiter” (or was he the chef?) was much friendlier, and tried to improve our meal. He joked around with us and offered to help us with the menu.

The only physical menus are in the form of neon-green take-out menus at the entrance. Otherwise, meal options are conveyed in chalk board style.  

The menu is small but not limited. Choices include pho, chili-garlic chicken wings, and a variety of buns and rolls. Additional items, such as homemade meatballs and rice noodles, are available at a nominal cost.  

I ordered the Chicken pho and was delighted to discover its resemblance to Japanese udon soup. The chicken was tender and abundant, with only a few fatty pieces. The waitress served the soup with a plate of garnishes of jalapeño peppers, bean sprouts, onions, and “love” (according to the menu). The chicken pho, complete with chicken, vermicelli noodles and a flavorful broth, cost $8.95.

My dining partners ordered spring rolls, egg rolls and various Vietnamese fruit juices. The spring rolls really are “spring” rolls: They feel springy to the touch and consist of rice paper enveloped fresh vegetables, spring salad and vermicelli noodles. At three rolls for $4.50 (for an average of $1.50 per roll and a free side of peanut sauce!) they were well priced.

The egg rolls weren’t quite as popular with the group. Perhaps more-seasoned Vietnamese cuisine consumers would’ve appreciated their distinct taste, but we were disappointed that they differed from Chinese egg rolls. At least they were deep-fried, though! An order of three costs $3.75 and is served with nouc mam dressing.  

The fruit juices were by far the most praised part of the meal. At $2.25 to $2.80 a pop, they cost more than an average soda. They were also tastier than an average soda: I would especially recommend the Mangosteen juice.

All in all, our dining experience could best be described as awkward, chiefly because of the waitress. One seasoned group member assured us of the rarity of the staff’s inhospitality. During her previous visits, she has always found them friendly and helpful.  

The meal wasn’t exactly a bargain, but the prices fit the high food quality: and the food was definitely of high quality. I will return to Pho Sho “fo sho.”  

(Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)

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    Island AinsworthMar 13, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Hello Elana
    Thank you for your review of Pho Sho. In response to why I seated you at the larger table: you came with four guests, the table you were going to sit at seats three and is attached to the wall. Apologies if it made you feel awkward, my intention was to seat your group comfortably, especially when delivering hot soup is involved. Also, China is close but very different from Vietnam and the reason why our egg rolls are different.
    We appreciate that you recognize the high quality of our ingredients and the time you took to write your review.
    Thank you,
    Island / Waitress / Owner 🙂