Sushi Blues Cafe owner Quy Duong is targeting the weekend of March 6 for the opening of Pho Pho Pho Noodle Kitchen + Bar following a week of trial runs. That date is subject to the weather, which has been especially fickle of late.
The dining room certainly looks ready for prime time. Duong has given the space, which has previously been home to an eclectic string of restaurants (most recently Oryx) over the past 10 years, a complete makeover. Walls covered in intricate chalkboard art and photos of cultural icons ranging from Mark Twain to Bruce Lee (some accompanied by witty quotations) add up to a casual look that might be described as hipster-Asian.
The menu, for the most part, sticks with the traditional dishes of Duong's native Vietnam, from banh mi to the restaurant's namesake beef noodle soup. Chef Thuan Phan, who comes to Raleigh from St. Louis, occasionally ventures across the borders for the likes of Japanese ramen noodles and a contemporary Asian riff on U-10 scallops with a spicy aioli.
A full bar will feature craft beers, a selection of filtered and unfiltered sakes, and "crafty cocktails" showcasing the flavors of Vietnam (think lime, cilantro, basil, ginger and Sriracha). Pho Pho Pho Noodle Kitchen + Bar (510-103 Glenwood Ave.; 919-322-1837; phophophonc.com) will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
"We've been working really hard to get everything ready," says general manager Michael Szeto, a ten-year veteran of Sushi Blues. "Now if the weather will just cooperate."