Pho Country 2440 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501
An hour for lunch is nowhere near long enough. Thankfully, however, there are places like Pho Country 2 that’ll feed you and get you out the door with just enough time to speed back to work before the boss gets all in a tizzy. Last Wednesday, I tried the place out, and though the service was spotty, I think Pho Country 2 is a great addition to Virginia Street.
I say this because there are enough pawn shops and motels and a little room for revitalization. Running to Pho Country from my parking spot in the Silver Legacy, I passed four homeless people, and upon greeting my nine-and-a-half month pregnant wife, Kat, who was waiting for me out front, she told me about a man on his bicycle who had just offered to make her his girlfriend.
From the outside, Pho Country 2 blends into the rest of the downtown Virginia Street mess. However, two steps inside and that all changes. While narrow, the restaurant is deep, clean and comfortable, and nothing like the scene outdoors. Dark wooden tables line the walls, with several larger round tables occupying the center of the room. There are silk bamboo plants scattered throughout and colorful oil paintings of Vietnamese women dotting the light green-and-tan painted walls.
Pho Country’s menu is extensive, with over 150 Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai dishes, and our server seemed absolutely lost with it. He had to consult the menu for numbers and names for every item we ordered. And being confronted with an enormous menu and pressed for time, Kat and I just stocked up on our favorites. We started with the spring rolls ($3.99), which are shrimp, pork and chicken rolled inside sticky rice paper along with lettuce, vermicelli, bean sprouts and a side of peanut sauce. Pho Country’s spring rolls are as good as any in Reno but about a buck cheaper. Kat also picked a rice noodle dish with flame broiled pork and shredded pork ($6.45). The vermicelli noodle dishes come with green leaf lettuce, bean sprouts and a light oil dressing, but not a single one comes full of vegetables. However, our server was happy to include a side of steamed carrots, broccoli and bok choy with Kat’s dish for free. Although relatively simple, Kat’s dish was easy to spice up using the assortment of hoisin sauce, red chili sauce and soy sauce on the table. The only flaw was the shredded pork, which was hard, cold and just plain nasty.
I ordered the general chicken lunch ($6.45), which comes with an egg roll, a cup of soup broth, and white rice. Sadly, Pho Country 2 uses tiny bits of chicken heavily covered in batter before frying, which renders the chicken more doughy than crispy. Although larger pieces of chicken would be better, they nailed the sweet and subtly spicy sauce, as they did with the small rare beef pho I ordered ($4.95). However, our server forgot to bring me the side of bean sprouts, basil, and jalapeños that really makes pho so delightful. Because I was about five minutes from running out the door, I never spoke up.
Pho Country 2 also offers free delivery within three miles on any order over $30 that’s not made on a weekend or a holiday. Maybe that’s not a great deal, but the $6.95 dinner special featuring one entrée, soup, rice and an egg roll definitely is. And though inexperienced, our server aimed to please, and he hustled that afternoon to keep me on schedule.