Chicago is home to several well known universities. Hyde Park is the location of the University of Chicago. The diversity of the students and staff at University of Chicago stretches throughout Hyde Park. Not only is the cultural diversity apparent in the individuals, but it also evident in the variety of restaurants that range from Italian and Indian to Caribbean and Thai. Pho 55 at 1611 E. 55th Street is one of the newest additions to Hyde Park and they have made their presence known by serving some authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Walking in from humid temperatures, I was in the mood for something refreshing. I asked for a recommendation from the server and she told me that the lemongrass and lime drink would be a good option. I accepted the recommendation and was soon happy that I had. It was a refreshing marriage of lemonade, limeade, and a hint of club soda.
For a starter, a perfect option is a platter of deep-fried wonton sheets. The thin, minced shrimp inside of the fried wontons are not substantial, but the flavor overcompensated. Served with a sweet and sour sauce and atop a green salad, these would make a perfect entrée sized platter.
A great entree to try is the grilled chicken in green curry with rice and a salad. The green curry is spicy enough for a bite yet mild enough that you can enjoy the taste of the dish. And as for the salad, you can cut up the chicken, put it all in the bowl and have a wonderful time working your chopsticks around the dish.
For those who like to indulge in sweets, the fried banana with vanilla cream sauce is my recommendation. The natural sweetness of the bananas in the fried wontons are better than overly sugary desserts. The vanilla cream sauce is only an accent, with a flavor more like melted vanilla ice cream.
Pho 55 does not have a bustling atmosphere one experiences at Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago’s Little Vietnam along Argyle Avenue in Uptown. The service is fantastic. With outstanding food, it’s all about one pho the money, two pho the show, three to get ready, and pho to go.
Gino is a guest blogger on AptAmigo. To see more of his articles, check out Chicago Alphabet Soup.