For vegetarians, the southeast metro area hasn't provided nearly as many options as Federal Boulevard. But now there's a new noodle house in town: Pho Lee, a sibling restaurant to the insanely popular Pho 95 outposts. And the veggie pho at Pho Lee is just as good as it is at any Pho 95 location.
Pho Lee's options for plant-based eaters aren't extensive -- a rice-paper-wrap appetizer here, a noodle bowl there -- but we don't need many options when the pho pictured above is on the menu. The recipe is strikingly similar to that used at Pho 95, but it contains a few Pho Lee-specific flavorings. The broth is slightly spicier than what you'll find at Pho 95 (so give it a taste before pouring in the sriracha for extra heat), and it has everything you need in a good bowl of pho: perfectly cooked vermicelli-style rice noodles, crispy tofu, oodles of veggies (snap peas, carrots, broccoli and other traditional favorites). And it's served with a heaping platter of fixings: bean sprouts, dandelion shoots, Thai basil, jalapenos -- again, beware! -- and lime wedges.
If you live or work in the southern suburbs, this place is a must-stop. But get here early: The tiny eatery fills up fast with lunchers who crave exotic flavor in the middle of their day. And even if you don't live in the area, it's worth a trip -- if only to see how Pho Lee measures up to your favorite bowl of veggie pho in town. (We're willing to bet it will rank in your top three.)
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Call 303-790-7107 or visit www.pholeerestaurant.com.