When trying to survive a shutdown, it helps to have a heap of crawfish. Tasty Pho & Crawfish Bar hadn’t even been open for two months when it was forced to close its dining room in March. Making do, they started selling takeout crawfish boils. The aggressively seasoned crawfish allowed the restaurant to stay in business until it reopened for dine-in service in June.
Crawfish is part of the Viet-Cajun cuisine that owners Dung “Dino” Nguyen and his wife Nancy grew up eating. Prior to this experience, I had the misfortune of never having eaten crawfish. After a helpful tutorial from my server (pinch the tail and twist), I was ready for my inaugural bite. The succulent meat had a perfect slow burn, thanks to the “house special” seasoning (a piquant combination of spicy Cajun seasoning, garlic butter, and lemon-pepper sauce).
More traditional Vietnamese dishes make an appearance on the menu, as well. The pho dac biet, tender slices of slightly pink beef floating in an earthy broth with fragrant greens and onions, is especially recommended. At just $5, the banh mi, generously packed with chicken, grilled pork, or ham, makes for a cheap and hearty lunch. The restaurant’s family ownership shows: During your visit, Dino and Nancy will probably come out and talk to you about the food. They take an obvious pride in each dish they prepare, which will only become more obvious when you dig in.
Tasty Pho & Crawfish Bar, 7741 Tylers Place Blvd., West Chester Twp., (513) 777-5757