My husband's brother and wife were one of the firsts in our family to dine there as we, unfortunately, weren't able to join. Fast forward a few months later, both of our families decided to head over for the heck of it (not to mention the restaurant is probably about 15 minutes away from their house)!
Location & Parking
Interior and Ambiance
The immediate vibe I felt as soon as I passed through the double doors was "Urban Vietnam" - I don't know how else to describe it. NOT that I've ever been to my husband's homeland but there are some items native to the country or seen pretty much everywhere in the more crowded areas - at least from what it looked like in the movies or TV shows I've seen set in, say, Saigon. HAHA
Appetizer and Small Plates
*Please note the description in the parentheses were straight from the restaurant's menu.
Appetizer: Nem Nuong Spring Rolls, $6.95 (*grilled pork patty, lettuce, cilantro, basil, cucumber, crispy wonton, pickled daikon, and carrots serviced in a rice paper and house special sauce)
-This was so good and a hit with us - especially the kids. As with any Vietnamese spring roll, the wrap and noodles provided a very clean taste while the patty and won ton wrap gave the dish some substance. It helps that we all love spring rolls, too, but anything different from the usual shrimp and pork spring roll combo is appreciated by our family and always ready to be devoured.
Small Plate: Spicy Garlic Chicken Wings, $8.95 (*crispy battered wings with sweet onions, garlic, and jalapenos)
- You pretty much can't go wrong with chicken wings (also it was a given that my brother-in-law would order since he has a strong love affair with chicken wings like no other)! Although this particular dish is considered a "small plate," there's enough to share - there were 6 of us - excluding my baby nephew, of course. You could taste the garlic in this dish but it was pleasantly light and the chicken had a good crunch to it!
The 1st dish featured below is their Oxtail Pho Noodle Soup, $13.95 (*tendered meat fall off the bone, available in Large bowl only)
- Since this was technically my husband's order, I can't really tell you how this dish tasted. However, asking my husband (a man of FEW words), he tells me, "It's good." Ummm ok?? So I had to get him talking by asking him a few questions. From my observation, this was a generously sized bowl and the meat (on the bone) were humongous! It looked as though the meat would be on the tougher side due to their size but, as it says in the dish description, it was tender. "Tender, flavorful, and warms the stomach" as my husband finally concluded after I had grilled him. SHEESH!
Needless to say, her description of her dish was a lot more... shall I say...articulate. In her words..."The Bo Ne was a nice change of pace from the usual pho, vermicelli bowls, and rice plates found in many Vietnamese restaurants. The steak was flavorful being paired with a sunny-side up egg and pate making for a nice bite with the banh mi (baguette). I do prefer my breads to be a bit more toasted so that is the only thing I would change. This is my 'go-to' dish for sure."
From my point of view, the presentation was pleasing and smelled amazing. Will definitely try it out the next time I visit.
- Normally, when I pick a donut out of those variety boxes, I choose one of 3 types: chocolate, plain, or sugared. This dish had the best of all 3! These were lightly sugared (almost plain in my book) and could be dipped in the chocolatey goodness it came with. My husband and kids all love donuts so it was an automatic win for them.
Dessert No.2: Fried Banana with Ice Cream, $5.95 (*sweet banana, a hint of cinnamon rolled and fried to crisp perfection and served with vanilla ice cream)
- Bananas fried in eggroll wraps? Umm YUM!!! Although it's not the healthiest way to prepare a banana it, yes, hit the spot! The plain vanilla ice cream paired perfectly with this sweet yet savory goodness! Again, it wasn't too sweet (which is perfect for us) and it's best to share with a friend or two.
The food is tasty, the restaurant is stylish (and, importantly, clean), and the service was good! If you're ever in the Federal Way area, check this place out and let me know what you think!
You can find Ox Pho & Grill here: 31406 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003