UPTOWN — Second Fridays on Argyle returns this week with a trip to Pho Loan to explore a range of pho offerings and a special family recipe from Vietnam.
From 6-9 p.m. Friday, Uptown residents are invited to try the signature dishes at the restaurant at 1114 W. Argyle St., according to a flier for the event.
The monthly event, which is organized by Axis Lab and the 48th Ward, not only showcases food at a local business, but also hopes to bring the community together to promote safety over a meal. It's the newest addition to a lineup of events "designed to improve our neighborhoods overall," according to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
Pho Loan is owned by Loan Thi Thu Nguyen and her husband, Quang Minh Le, who came to the United States in 1995, spending a year in California before moving to Chicago.
Nguyen, who hails from a family of pho cooks in Vietnam, and Le both worked as nail technicians before they were able to afford to open their own restaurant, which they were finally able to do in 2014.
The restaurant will be showcasing three pho dishes not usually available at other restaurants including pho filet mignon, pho ga tuoi and pho lo duc.
The pho filet mignon is a traditional beef-based pho that distinguishes itself with "the higher end cut of beef [which] enhances the depth of the beef broth flavor," Nguyen said.
The pho ga tuoi, or free-range chicken pho, is "a slightly lighter, more delicate chicken version of beef pho," while pho lo duc is special due to its usage of a clay pot, she said.
“The process of cooking ginger and oxtail while heating the clay pot enhances the already deep beef broth flavor once it’s added. The clay pot also sustains the hot temperature of the dish unlike a regular bowl of pho," Nguyen said.
In addition to the pho dishes, the restaurant also specializes in com bay mon bac lieu, a rice dish featuring grilled pork chop, grilled pork sausage, Chinese sausage, pork skin, pork and crabby patty, bean curd skin with shrimp and an egg sunny-side up.
“Com bay mon bac lieu was created by my family in Bặc Liêu in Vietnam, and we wanted to sustain the culinary history and heritage of the dish by serving it here in Chicago," Nguyen said.
The restaurant is BYOB.
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