Vietnamese cuisine has become one of our go-to comfort foods. (Well, that and Ethiopian food… and Chinese… and Indian… and Japanese. You see the pattern.) And of the many good Vietnamese restaurants around Columbus, we count Huong as the best.
Like many of the city’s best ethnic eats, Huong is located in a nondescript strip mall. The main dining room features booths and tables, with a colorful mural covering the main wall.
We love starting the meal with Vietnamese coffee.
The coffee grounds – in a fairly fine grind – are steeped and filtered in a small metal chamber that sits atop the glass.
The strong brew is mixed with sweetened condensed milk and stirred together. The result is like a very rich and sweet cup of espresso.
The menu includes a whole page of appetizers, from different rolls, green papaya salads, dumplings, wings, and more. We’ve loved the tightly wrapped fried egg rolls with pork and shrimp.
And the spring rolls with shrimp and thinly-shaved pork + a peanut dipping sauce.
The main attraction – and one the standards by which Vietnamese restaurants are judged – is the pho, a beef noodle soup. I can’t even begin to describe the complex seasoning in the broth, but I can tell you it’s one of my favorites in town. Especially when you add thinly shaved rare steak.
Your bowl of pho comes loaded with beef broth, rice noodles, green and white onions, and your choice of meat. On the side you’re given a plate full of additions: sprouts, lime, jalapenos, basil. So you can dress up your pho however you like.
You can also order your pho with chicken broth. And believe it or not, they can package it in its separate components for a to-go order.
Aside from the pho, we’ve also enjoyed the grilled chicken on steamed rice. Very tender chicken – a real winner with the kids.
Same with the rice vermicelli noodle salads with your choice of meat. We’ll sometimes order them with half rice, half vermicelli.
Once or twice I’ve the banh xeo, a crispy Vietnamese style crepe with sprouts, beans, pork, and shrimp.
It’s hard to describe the flavor – definitely shrimp + the earthiness of sprouts + the sour tanginess of fish sauce. It’s decidedly savory overall.
I’m a latecomer to the banh mi sandwich, I guess because I’m always distracted by the pho. But I’m an easy convert.
The banh mi typically features pork, pate, and pickled vegetables on grilled French bread. As far as sandwiches go, it’s top notch.
As you can see, there are more than enough reasons to get yourself to Huong. If you’ve never been, now’s the time!