Strip Mall Restaurant Shocks World With Great Asian Food, Service Leaves Something To Be Desired
That’d probably be the headline if The Onion ever did a piece about Pho Kimmy. After all, you’ve read this article before. Not about the Sharonville Vietnamese restaurant, mind you. But surely you're read something like it, an unassuming place that packs a punch with flavor.
And indeed, that’s what Pho Kimmy does—its pho is arguably some of the most delicious in the area. As to the part about the service... let's just say that deserves a bit of explaining. From the beginning, then.
NOT THE FOOD
“Unassuming” is a pretty good adjective for Pho Kimmy’s exterior. It sits on Rt. 42 just north of I-275—yes, in a strip mall, but more importantly in the middle of a bustling commercial corridor. Go in at 11:20 and you might be the only one in there. Go in at noon and it’ll be hard to find a seat. That’s lunch hour for you.
The decor is... well, there is none. The walls are decked with TVs, but that’s it. You might find it a little plain. It certainly lacks the kitschiness in which Anthony Bourdain has convinced me Southeast Asia abounds. But I like it. It’s no-nonsense. It’s all about the food. (Though there is karaoke equipment in the corner if your kitschy-lust must be sated.)
No one’s gonna put you at a table. Do it yourself. And don’t fret about sitting at one cluttered with dishes: they’ll be cleaned off by a server soon enough.
Your server will then take your order and bring it to you with varying degrees of alacrity. In turn, you might take this opportunity to feel a little put off. Resist that urge. Just realize this is how they do it here, and everything will be alright.
Pho is a deceptively simple dish. It’s beef broth with onion, ginger, and fish sauce poured over thin sirloin and garnished with lime and cilantro. Ideally, the broth is steaming and the sirloin cooks in it a bit. Ideally, there’re some bean spouts to temper the heat of those first few bites. Add sriracha or hoisin as desired, then enjoy.
Not everyone gets it right, but Pho Kimmy does. The pho here is great, with a clear broth that balances spicy, savory, and sweet notes. The rice noodles are wonderful. The garnishes are on point. Gasp!—it barely even needs sriracha.
Other menu all-stars include the vermicelli noodles and the Bahn Mi sandwiches. Don’t miss the back of the menu either, where the drink offerings set this place over the top.
Sure, you’ve had great pho before, but have you had great pho and an avocado smoothie? You can get them both at Pho Kimmy. Just remember to take everything else in stride.
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Pho Kimmy is located at 11974 Lebanon Road (45241).