Photos and Words by Tiffany Yang-Tran
I visited Beantown Pho & Grill on a warm Friday evening when two friends and I wanted to grab a bite to eat when classes were over. We were looking for a place that was more adventurous than our usual Shake Shack, but somewhere that was still inexpensive. After a bit of searching, we came across Beantown Pho & Grill. The variety on the menu is quite extensive and ranges from pho, vermicelli bowls, fried rice, stir-fried noodles, curry, seafood and more. This was the place we were looking for!
As you walk towards the restaurant, you are greeted by a cute outdoor seating area enclosed by a fence decorated with small twinkle lights, which is where we sat. Right off the bat, the service was incredibly friendly and accommodating. I have nut allergies, which can be an issue at a Thai and Vietnamese restaurant, but the servers were incredibly reassuring and proactive in making sure no nuts appeared in my food.
I ordered the rice paper work (banh hoi). This is a make-your-own spring roll that comes with your choice of grilled chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp, served with steamed vermicelli, fresh mint, lettuce, watercress, cucumbers, carrots, crushed peanuts, and homemade sauce (nuoc cham). I ordered this dish expecting it to come ready to eat. However, what came was unassembled ingredients. Luckily, I am half-Vietnamese, so I knew how to wet the rice paper and wrap the spring rolls. For diners who might not have known how to assemble this dish, a little bit of guidance from the servers would have steered them in the right direction.
As for the taste of the dish, the ingredients were incredibly fresh, the mint leaves added a new dimension of flavor, and the pork was amazingly juicy and flavorful. The spring rolls also came with a classic side of fish sauce. Again, coming from a Vietnamese family, I can assert that this fish sauce was a good combination of sweet, tangy, and salty.
This was a satisfying but healthy dish. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to be health-conscious but still wants to try some authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
My friends tried the Thai iced tea and the taro bubble tea, which they said were refreshing and flavorful. They ordered the pad thai and the yellow curry, which I didn’t have the chance to try due to my nut allergy.
From what my friends told me, the pad thai tasted as she expected, and she enjoyed how the spices had been soaked into the noodles. This pad thai contained Thai-style stir-fried rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts, scallion, and ground peanuts.
The yellow curry was served with crushed peanuts and chef-selected vegetables. My friend said the flavor was pretty good, but it lacked some of the spiciness she expected.
Beantown Pho & Grill is a great spot for an outing with friends or a casual date. Located right on Newbury Street, it’s not far from campus, and on a Friday evening the ambiance was lively and fun. This is the place to go for a relaxed but tasty experience.
Beantown Pho & Grill
272 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116