|Pho 99, Fort Myers|
is a restaurant featuring Vietnamese cuisine in Fort Myers. As of this writing, they have been open about 2 months. The Original Pho 99 is located in East Hartford, CT. Pho 99 in Fort Myers is part of an ever expanding presence of Vietnamese cuisine in the area. With few restaurants featuring this cuisine 3 to 4 years ago a search on Yelp today listed 10 restaurants locally serving Vietnamese food. The owner of Pho 99 locally is a transplant from Connecticut. He worked for the original restaurant there but now owns the Fort Myers location. He told me they will be opening a Naples, FL location soon. I was happy to hear this as it will be much needed cuisine there. The restaurant is, of course, named after that wonderful Vietnamese dish of richly flavored broth, rice noodles, herbs and various meats.
My dining companion and I had read very good things about Pho 99 and decided to take a peek.
The interior of the restaurant is nicely done, seating about 35-40 people.
|Dining area, Pho 99|
A growing trend for many restaurants is to forgo a website and stick to social media. Why not, it's free. Unfortunately, some that do this do not have a menu listed. Pho 99 is one of these, so here is their menu. N.B, they plan on expanding their food and beverage offerings in the near future.
The first thing sampled was the shrimp spring roll (Goi Cuon Tom). These were spring rolls wrapped in translucent rice paper wrappers with shrimp and an assortment of vegetables. Although good, unfortunately they were a bit bland by themselves and their saving grace was the peanut sauce served with them.
My dining companion (DC) had traveled extensively in Vietnam and lived near Huntington Beach, CA for many years, part of which is an enclave for the local Vietnamese community. As such, banh mi, those delicious and filling Vietnamese sandwiches were very much on DC's radar. We chose to split the pork version that the restaurant served.
|Pork banh mi|
This was excellent, the pork marinated in a sweetened lemongrass/fish sauce/sesame oil marinade, and topped with a sriracha aioli. With a most generous portion of pork served here, this could have been a meal in itself. Highly recommended and for $8, a great value.
We then tried the grilled pork chop, (Com Suon Heo).
|Grilled Vietnamese pork chop|
These were exceptional, smothered in a sweetened lemongrass, soy/oyster sauce, the sugars in the sauce becoming caramelized upon cooking. As is tradition, fried eggs accompanied the pork chops, in addition to a few marinated shrimp. A sweetened fish sauce dip with julienned carrots sealed the deal. This was an excellent menu offering, most highly recommended.
We finished splitting one of the pho menu items, Bun Bo Hue, or hot and spicy noodle soup.
|Hot and spicy noodle soup|
This is a variant of traditional pho. The broth has a more pronounced lemongrass flavor, chili oil is added and the rice noodles are traditionally thicker and more cylindrical, though the restaurant served this with the usual pho vermicelli. This was an extremely generous portion, the medium sized dish differing in price from the large by $1 but the volume was about 30% greater, easily enough for two. We opted for the beef version, the broth richly flavored after simmering beef bones with other ingredients for 24 hours. It was served with a very flavorful variety of condiments such as sliced jalapeno, basil, mung bean sprouts and fresh lime. Although a bit spicy, the dish was extremely delicious, another great value and highly recommended.
Apart from the shrimp spring rolls which were not bad, the food at Pho 99 was really good, exceptionally flavorful, a great value and is most highly recommended. Of the Vietnamese restaurants I have dined at locally, this is at the top of the pops and I do not think, based on the items ordered, you could possibly get a bad meal here. Pho 99 will not disappoint.
It's a wrap for another post on Forks.
1791 Boy Scout Dr.
Fort Myers, FL 33907
Open Sunday, 9AM-8PM, Monday, Wednesday-Saturday, 9AM to 9PM; All major credit cards accepted; Carry out available.
|Interior, Pho 99|
|Shrimp spring rolls|