What: Fast Casual Pho and Vietnamese Cuisine
When: Monday to Sunday 11am-9pm
Where: 5 locations in Cedar Park, Northcross, Southpark, Round Rock and Mueller
Why: PhoNatic is known for their fresh, fast, and fun approach to Vietnamese food. Founded by husband and wife Pat and Sara Lee, they’ve been operating PhoNatic’s around town for the past five years. Pat’s family is in the food business, they opened Austin’s first Asian Grocery, and later went on went to establish Austin’s first Chinatown Center off North Lamar. That led Pat and Sara to open their first Pho restaurant, Pho Saigon, in 2006. And all was going well with that until they realized that the menu, which was mainly written in Vietnamese, was intimidating to their non-Vietnamese patrons. The idea was sparked and so they set out to create a fast casual restaurant making Vietnamese food the star, and that’s just what PhoNatic does!
What makes PhoNatic different is their fast-casual approach, you can order to-go, or sit in and get great fresh quality food fast. They make traditional style Pho as well as offer their own signature dishes with twists. When it came to Pho we tried three, the Oxtail, the Beef Tip, and Chicken. My boyfriends favorite was the Oxtail, it was visibly different but not too overwhelming for a first-time eater. The meat itself was fatty and had a nice tender juicy texture to it.
We also had their take on Bahn Mi Sliders, made in Bao buns, they were one of my favorite dishes. Perfect for an appetizer to share or for a quick lunch. The Bao buns are soft, which is different than the traditional baguette bread. And paired with the cucumbers, jalepeno, carrot and mayo made for a nice savory and spicy bite.
They brought out two items that we both were unfamiliar with. One was Pat’s Plate, made with marinated pork shoulder, a fried egg, an egg roll all on jasmine rice. In it’s simplest form it was a protein and some vegetables on top of rice. But it had so much depth with flavors, it was seasoned well and the egg added a nice texture and sweetness to the whole bowl. The other dish was Lemongrass Beef with Vermicelli noodles, another simple dish, but filled with lots of vegetables made it a lighter Asian style salad.
What I love most about PhoNatic is the approach they take with their menu. Everything is as you would want it to be, it’s simple, clear, and easy to understand. And the food tastes great, there was not one thing that we had that I wouldn’t order again! We look forward to coming back soon, and hope when you go you’ll mention Dine With Shayda sent you.
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