No matter how you pronounce it at Pho T&N in Poulsbo, the staff will know what you want. It’s the signature dish on a menu bursting with aromatic, delicious flavors of Vietnam.
Family is the reason for the success of this wonderful, recently expanded restaurant. Opened in 2005, Pho T&N has given Poulsbo customers a delicious education about the tastes and culture of Vietnam, the birthplace of family patriarchs Rang Nguyen and Huyen Tran.
“My parents are in the kitchen every day,” daughter Trinh Nguyen said proudly. “It’s their cooking that provides the consistent food our customers come back for. Our success is very much about the care we put into everything we do.”
It wasn’t always a dream to own a restaurant. The couple’s work ethic and drive stemmed from all they experienced through the Vietnamese war, living in a refugee camp in Thailand with their four small children, before finally making their way to Seattle. They learned the restaurant ropes in several Seattle kitchens before choosing Poulsbo as a quiet place to raise a family.
Despite the language barrier, they were able to express themselves through food, and eventually the idea of having their own restaurant was realized. In addition to employing their daughter (only 19 at the time of opening) to get the restaurant up and going, they later added their son, Joe, when he came home from the Marines.
The successful family business now also includes Trinh’s husband as well as the two younger siblings, Linda and Thai. On any given day, you’ll find most of the family making beautiful and authentic food together.
The care and passion for sharing the Vietnames culture and cuisine come out in the delicious and beautifully presented menu items. The rich and flavorful pho broth is a masterpiece — the beef version simmering in a gigantic pot for more than 24 hours to achieve the delicious base for the popular soup.
“We serve between 400 and 600 bowls of pho each day,” Trinh said. “Beef, chicken, vegetarian and occasionally a special ox-tail pho. It’s important to us that we show our customers the difference between a good bowl and a bad one — we help them learn about all the condiments and the flavor profiles.”
The pho, which has become a favorite with Americans in the past few years, is not the only Vietnamese dish T&N is bringing to its loyal customers. The variety of choices for both lunch and dinner are filling the gap and educating customers about the flavors of Vietnam. Such favorites as spring rolls, egg rolls, banh mi, vermicelli noodle bowls and grilled short ribs are some of the popular dishes.
“We take pride in what we do.” Trinh said. “Our goal is to really be able to expose our customers to the culture and wonderful, authentic food of our homeland.”
Pho T&N does so by serving only Vietnamese food (not Thai or Chinese) and using only the freshest and most authentic ingredients. Right down to how they serve the coffee and the choice of beers on the menu. It’s Vietnamese — and it’s perfection.
Poulsbo’s little secret is out and it’s Pho T&N. The busy restaurant can sometimes have a wait, so plan accordingly.