Noodles may have been elevated into expensive dishes at high-end Asian restaurants, but it’s still easy to find them on the cheap if you know where to look. Mama Pho (580 Grand Street, Brooklyn; 718-599-5015) is one of those places. The shop, on Grand Street in Williamsburg, offers a good selection of Vietnamese cuisine for a steal.
The spot’s namesake item, pho, is $10 or less. The ribeye ($9) features chewy noodles, onion, and bean sprouts floating in rich pork stock, with brisket, beef balls, and raw ribeye set on top. Basil and chillies come on the side. Tofu and mushroom ($9), lemongrass chicken ($9), and spicy catfish ($10) are served with the same set up.
The soups are the most expensive options. For those who’d prefer to spend half the price, there’s a selection of sandwiches and salads.
Classic bánh mì with pork roll, pâté, ground pork, pork belly, headcheese, cucumber strips, cilantro, and pickled daikon and carrots, is just $5; same for the grilled lemongrass chicken and the pork belly that’s served with a pâté spread. The crispy catfish and pho-inspired sandwich, with ribeye, brisket, sriracha, and hoisin sauce (with no pickled vegetables) are $6 each. For a spicier version, diced jalapeños are added upon request.
The menu rounds out with inexpensive salads; noodles with vermicelli, Thai basil, mung bean sprouts with a special Vietnamese mixing sauce on the side can be topped with tofu and mushroom ($5), chicken ($5), shrimp ($6), or crispy catfish ($6). There’s a green papaya salad as well, with chicken or shrimp for $6.
Hey, the rent may be rising in the neighborhood, but here you can eat well without hurting your bottom line.