What's PHO lunch today? As autumn quietly slinks in, there's nothing like a truly authentic PHO to ease us into the chill that awaits. Head on over to Q's Restaurant at 172 Main Street in Norwalk (the old Valencia Luncheria spot) for the real McCoy. Recently opened (about 3 months and counting) and charmingly tiny, Q's is the love child of husband and wife duo Charles Eaton and XiaoNing Liu. Eaton, a Vietnam Vet, met Liu (a native of Old Nanking Province in China) while he was serving a tour of duty in Asia. Together, they have brought a small menu featuring Pho as well as other Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine to their wee, little kitchen.
The broth (and the aromatics within) is the test of a truly authentic PHO. Q's Pho uses the same broth as a base for all three of their Pho varieties: chicken, shrimp and beef. The mandatory cinnamon, clove and star anise (a flower from the evergreen tree found in northeast Vietnam and southwest China) are successfully combined in these fragrant noodle soups, creating an authentic, although slightly subtle flavor. We would have preferred the aromatics to pack a bit more of a punch. Then, with a generous dose of lime and a touch of savory fish sauce, the clear broth acts as the perfect pool in which the slick, rice noodles may bathe. Mung Beans, Coriander, other fresh herbs and hot chilies, can be added at your discretion. At $8.00 a bowl, this could be your go-to winter lunch spot.
Along with PHO, Q's offers BBQ'd meats on skewers, crunchy housemade spring rolls and sweet buns with condensed milk for dessert. Eaton and Liuare are smart to keep the menu tiny. They are making what they make best and they are doing it well. Sadly, there is no Banh Mi (Vietnamese-style sandwich) on offer just yet, but the owners are expecting to expand the present menu. And the price is most definitely wallet-friendly, indeed the prices at Q's Restaurant are a downright bargain (bbq chicken or beef skewers are $2.00). Don't go expecting lavish seating or stylish decor. The physical space is tiny and the entire restaurant seats about 15 people. This a place for authentic, Asian noodle soup. Don't go expecting PHancy, go expecting PHO.
172 Main St
Norwalk, CT 06851