The fab pho
WINCHESTER — If you thought you had to travel inside the Beltway to grab a decent bowl of pho — the Vietnamese soup on every foodie’s radar — think again.
Winchester has a variety of delicious noodle soups that will warm up your winter.
Having just opened its doors in September, the newest restaurant on our list invites soup lovers to “Come To Eat” its savory Vietnamese Pho ($9.99).
CTE’s menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free varieties of pho, as well as spicy and mild options.
Meat choices include sliced beef, meatball and shrimp. Adventurous eaters can even try adding tripe to their pho soups.
Owner Ling Huang said it takes her two days to make the broth.
“You can do it in one day, but it’s not going to taste as good,” she said.
Four years ago, Huang and her family moved to Winchester from Fairfax, where Vietnamese restaurants and pho soups are as plentiful as Chick-fil-As.
CTE Restaurant is located in a cozy shop across from John Handley High School and right off U.S. 11.
Where: 819 S. Braddock St.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday; Noon-9:30 p.m. Saturday
Mr. Noodle & Rice Asian Bistro
This noodle shop has bowls of Korean bibimbap and Japanese ramen, but one of its bestsellers is its Vietnamese Pho ($6.30), said owner Taewoo Kim.
He said he uses a large variety of herbs and spices to flavor his broth, including garlic, onion, clove, whole pepper and anise seed. The broth is boiled with beef tendon and added with rice noodles, cilantro and green onion. Manager Jennifer Heishman said customers can choose between chicken, beef, meatball and shrimp for their soup.
“Our prices are amazing for the soup,” she said. “It’s definitely a meal. Generally at most places you go, it’s a small portion.”
Where: 19 Weems Lane
When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-9:30 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Chop Stick Cafe
Having served hungry Shenandoah University students and Winchester residents for the past five years, the Chop Stick Cafe gets plenty of business in the cold winter months.
Owner Tom Frerotte said he probably makes about 20 gallons of Vietnamese pho soup per week.
Each pho soup ($9) is made with thinly sliced eye of round beef, rice noodles, cilantro, green onion and grilled vegetables that give it a smoky flavor, he said.
The beef is raw when it’s first added to the noodles and the bubbling broth cooks it.
Frerotte said the broth takes about eight hours to make right.
“The bones need to be simmered, not boiled,” he said. “You want a clear broth, not a cloudy broth.”
Shenandoah University students who dine in can get a discount at the restaurant.
Frerotte said Chop Stick Cafe will be moving into an expanded location across the street at 207 N. Kent St. The new location will also offer some new varieties of pho. He said the current location will become a European-style country store with local wines, sakes and plum wines as well as cured meats.
Where: 202 E. Piccadilly St.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; Noon-10 p.m. Saturday
Similar to gingerbread lattes, the pho soup ($8.75) at Wok Zone is a seasonal item and is available only during the winter.
Owner Sam Kim said he uses all-natural ingredients, including slices of thinly cut ribeye steak and a broth that’s been simmered for eight to 10 hours.
“I’m sure pretty much everyone uses a similar recipe,” he said. “The key difference is we take our time and make sure it’s done right.”
Wok Zone is a spoon’s throw away from the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Where: 179 Kernstown Commons Blvd.
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org