All the fixings for pho ga from Pho Co. Variety Photo by Aimsel Ponti

I could eat pho at least once a week for the rest of my life, and it’s doubtful I would grow tired of it. It’s comforting, for one, and the assemblage of its ingredients makes it a participatory meal. I have to do a little bit of work, and the reward is a flavorful container of brothy goodness with rice noodles, bean sprouts, basil, lime and in this case, hand-shredded chicken breast.

So the news that delicious pho is now available only 2.3 miles away from my office made me very happy. Pho Co. Variety recently opened in Westbrook, and the same day I went to pick up my first to-go order, I ran into a co-worker who was picking up four banh mis for herself and three other colleagues. I cornered her out by our cars and asked for her thoughts on the sandwich, as well as a photo of it. She graciously obliged, and I’ll get to that shortly.

Pho go assembled and ready to eat. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

First, the pho ga (rice noodle soup with chicken for $8.95). I’m fairly easy to please when it comes to pho, but like the “secret’s in the sauce” in “Fried Green Tomatoes,” it’s all dependent on the broth. That of Pho Co. Variety is currently the front-runner for the best I’ve ever tasted. Can I tell you what makes it so good? Nope. I’m terrible at discerning specific spices and flavors, but I will say this: It wasn’t too salty, which is sometimes the case.

Beef banh mi from Pho Co. Variety in Westbrook. Photo by Michele McDonald

Now, about that banh mi.

My co-worker ordered the beef variety (lemongrass beef with cilantro, cucumber, onions, pickled carrots, pate and house-made aioli on a crusty French baguette for $5). She shared that it was a good choice on her part, in particular the roll and fresh vegetables. She also appreciated that the beef wasn’t tough. Another co-worker had the Classic, made with Vietnamese cold cuts also for $5, which she described as authentic. The other option is made with lemongrass tofu. At that price, I’m bound to order one of them soon enough.

A few other eye-catching items on the Pho Co. Variety menu include the Phoritto (a choice of beef, chicken or tofu with herbs, bean sprouts and pho sauce, wrapped in a tortilla) and the Bahn Dawg (smoked beef sausage stir fried and topped with caramelized onions, cilantro, picked daikon and carrots, jalapenos and aioli on a crusty baguette). Yum! Wash these down with a strawberry bubble tea. You can also try appetizers of egg rolls, spring rolls, dumplings and crispy tofu and entrees like massaman curry and pad thai.

Pho Co. Variety also has plenty of American offerings such as Italian sandwiches, steak bombs, pizza, salad and fried chicken, so it’s one-stop shopping for every palate.


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