This is it--the final to our epic 16-team Final Pho. Dozens of pho bowls slurped to determine which is the best pho in Orange County. The championship match took place between the favorite, Pho Thanh Lich, and an unlikely finalist: Brodard Chateau. Now, the drama--or, rather, lack of.
"So we're all in agreement that Pho Thanh Lich is the winner?" Dave asked Edwin and I as we sat at Pho Thanh Lich.
We hadn't even placed our final order for the Westminster dive, yet we all agreed. It was a foregone conclusion; its competitor, Brodard Chateau, only made it into the final because it beat a weak field, then pulled off a massive upset in the semifinal by beating old warhorse Pho Nguyen Hue, which committed a John Capilari-esque choke. AHHHHH . . . anyhoo, we all agreed Brodard Chateau is a fine restaurant, but not for pho. Its pho is overpriced, underseasoned and ultimately forgettable. That, of course, isn't the case for Pho Thanh Lich. And just in case we were deluding ourselves, we brought in a guest judge: Fat Dude on a Diet blogger Niyaz Pirani.
You can read Edwin and Shuji's takes on Pho Thanh Lich below. Me? Here are two more reasons via photos why Pho Thanh Lich dominates its competition.
Look at that line of fat on that hunk of meat! It just oozed into my palate and my bowl. This cut alone beats about 60 percent of the phos in the county.
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And all meals end with a complimentary bowl of che, a Vietnamese dessert. I originally thought it was a bowl of cream of potato soup--look at its murky color, that hunk of orange that looks like a carrot. All sweet potato, seaweed, mung bean and the unlikely sweets that make Vietnamese desserts among the best . . . but I'm fading here.
WINNER, AND THE CERTIFIED BEST PHO IN AMERICA: Pho Thanh Lich. But boy, are we blessed with the damn soup. . . . Now, let the second-guessing begin!
Pho Thanh Lich, 14500 Brookhurst St., Westminster, (714) 531-5789.
Brodard Chateau, 9100 Trask Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 899-8273; brodard.net.
ROUND 1 WINNERS:
Pho Dakao vs. Kim Loan: Pho Dakao
AnQi vs. Benley: Benley
Pho Thanh Lich vs. Pho Vinh Ky 2: Pho Thanh Lich
Pho Kimmy vs. Pho Quang Trung: Pho Quang Trung
Pho Hien Vuong vs. Pho Nguyen Hue: Pho Nguyen Hue
Brodard Chateau vs. S Vietnamese Fine Dining: Brodard Chateau
Pho Thang Long vs. Quan Hop: Quan Hop
Pho 79 vs. Pho 86: Pho 86