There are times when I get a sudden pang inside followed by an urge. The message floats to my brain, ” I need Pho from Tank Noodle Restaurant.”
Vietnamese food was an entirely new experience to me when I moved to Chicago over a decade ago. My worldly friend Josh introduced us to Argyle street, which is lined with Vietnamese eateries, bakers, grocery stores and butchers. As I mentioned just a few posts ago, it is like a world travel experience, just over a mile from my home.
I find the flavors of Vietnamese food intoxicating: thai basil, cilantro, lime, savory dipping sauces, pickled radish, marinated meats and perfectly flavored broth. It is comfort food of an ilk quite far from my childhood favorites but equally as satisfying. In my book, a bowl of Pho (the traditional beef and noodle soup) trumps chicken noodle to cure all ills.
Tank Noodle Restaurant is our standby when we need to scratch our itch for Vietnamese food. It is casual, fast and family-friendly with an extensive menu. (For a bit of a fancier Vietnamese dining experience, try Hai Yen) At busy times, you might have to wait for a table at Tank Noodle but it moves fast. Once seated, don’t attempt to wait for your own server. They have a unique system where everyone seems to serve everyone. Just wave someone down and order up your feast.
Though everything I have tasted at Tank Noodle is good, I would highly suggested the Self Wrap Grilled Beefs, Shrimps (#16) appetizer and I have read that the Vietnamese Sizzling Crepe (#12) is delicious. I like to look around at what the many Vietnamese guests are eating and try to follow suit. There are over a dozen varieties of Pho. I usually order the one with all the grizzly bits and parts like tripe and tendon. The more faint of heart can stick to flank steak and meatballs.
For first timers, it will be a learning experience figuring out how to eat the soup. Just watch those around you. Tear off a few leaves from your beautiful plate of greens, sprinkle on some bean sprouts, give the soup a squeeze of lime. Consider some hot sauce and then grab your chopsticks in one hand and the flat-bottomed spoon in the other. Lean your head over the bowl and inhale the therapeutic vapors. Dig in.
4953 N Broadway
(between Argyle St & Ainslie St)
Chicago, IL 60640