Recently I found myself within walking distance of the new location of Saigon Cafe, a local Vietnamese chain with locations in Norcross, Decatur, Duluth, and Woodstock. Their newest location in Peachtree Hills occupies the space that was formerly Mama Fu’s, next door to Black Bear Tavern. Being that this new location is less than half the distance to Buford Highway from my home, I was curious to see if they could satisfy my shakes when I was in desperate need of a pho fix.
As the menu was littered with popular non-Vietnamese dishes such as chicken penang (Thai) and General Tso’s (sort-of-Chinese), I didn’t get my hopes up, but my order of Pho Bac Diet satisfied. It had all the usual suspects – well prepared rice noodles, thin slices of beef partially cooked by the hot broth, tendon, ribbons of chewy tripe, and plump sections of meatball. The broth lacked the complexity of a great pho, not enough star anise and cinnamon spice, and maybe a little too salty, but acceptable. Everything tasted fresh and when loaded up with crunchy bean sprouts and fragrant Thai basil, I had no complaints on a cool Atlanta day. I’m sure there will be those that will smite me for accepting in-town chain pho, but if I’m in the area and I have the craving, I think it fits the bill.