Pho bac sup shop f0povr

Forget dining by candlelight, slurp pho by glow of neon signage.

Image: Rosin Saez

Outside: a coir rug greets you with a "SUP." Inside: Phở Bắc Súp Shop is a bright, high-ceilinged glory to behold. The Pham family—siblings Khoa, Quynh, and Yenvy—have bootstrapped the hell out of this place, their parents' former restaurant Pho Viet, for the better part of a year on South Jackson Street. Now, it's softly open in Little Saigon, just across the parking lot from the longstanding little red boat Phở Bắc, which they confirm will remain as it ever has since 1982.

See, the Phams know phở, the aromatic broth practically runs through their veins. You'll find the same generous stainless steel bowls of noodle soup, or rather súp, here: phở bo (beef brisket, tendon, tripe, meat-goods et cetera), a delicate-yet-rich veggie phở, and chicken phở with a shallot-blessed broth so good you might cry; hold back the tears as you risk tainting the seasoned balance of this savory stock. Then, there's the short rib phở which, really, is a meaty something to behold.

But should you take a seat in one of their black-leather-cushioned bamboo chairs and crave something beyond broth, there's the "bites" menu, a companion to the restaurant's full bar, that should you keep you satisfied. On it, find prawn ceviche, fresh spring rolls, fried egg rolls (pork and prawn, or tofu), phở cuon aka pho rolls made of phở noodles, herbs, fish sauce, a choice of beef, prawns, or tofu, all wrapped in brown rice paper. There's also sliders, french fries, and twice-fried jumbo chicken wings with sticky, tangy tamarind sauce. The Unfortunate Cookie Mix—fortune cookie bits, peanuts, a tinge of chili oil, and black sesame seeds—is bar snacking food at its grab-it-by-the-hand-full, drop-it-down-your-gullet finest.

Around a dozen seats line the long bar at which cocktails are crafted with, above all, a healthy splash of playfulness. Case in point: the Whatsup! It's a shot of whiskey with a dash of phở aromatics (the very same inside a bowl of phở), chased with a shot of hot broth. "I wanted to make a drink you could chase with broth," laughs Khoa, the devious mastermind behind this combo.

This is the essence of Súp Shop, a place that's as fun as it is tasty, with a balance of Vietnamese flair—Vietnamese lounge-style music that plays by day, Vietnamese lemon-hued street cart that serves as a host podium—and modern touches like neon signage hanging in the windowed atrium and a plan for DJ nights down the road. It's Vietnamese coffee and cream puffs, but also whiskey-and-broth shots.

It's Suzi An's natural, low-intervention wine bottle shop lingering in the corner. Yes, with Súp Shop's opening comes the debut of An's Vita Uva, where she oversees a few shelves of her favorite vinos.

Hours for Súp Shop as of right now are 11 to 10pm, daily. Fine print as per usual: These are subject to change. Vita Uva's hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 to 6pm, and will likely extend into the weekend at some point. 

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Pho Bac Súp Shop

$ Vietnamese 1240 South Jackson Street

The red boat-shaped restaurant credited as the city’s first pho shop has transitioned to the next generation of owners, and to a big, blocky structure just a...