New Vietnamese restaurant (and other Southeast metro area dining notes)

Pho Hai Binh, a new Vietnamese Restaurant recently opened up shop at 3881 S. 27th Street in Milwaukee (S. 27th and Howard) in the space formerly occupied by S&P Thai Cuisine.  The restaurant specializes in Pho with several varieties available.  There are also numerous rice and noodle dishes and a decent appetizer menu.  The bowl of Pho (with meatballs, rare beef, and brisket) I had was spectacular, rivaling the stellar soup served at Pho Tru Trinh just a few miles up the street. The spring rolls were huge and were also very good.

Speaking of Thai restaurants, if you haven’t been to the Bankok House at4698 S. Whitnall Ave. (Whitnall Square Shopping Center) in St. Francis for their specular lunch buffet, I would recommend that you try it. The food is always excellent and very fresh.  Some favorites include the Thai curry dish of the day, Tom Yum Goong soup, Volcano Chicken, and of course Pad Thai.

The Sahara Cafe recently opened at 4125 S. Howell Avenue (just a few blocks north of Layton).  This new Middle eastern eatery occupies the former Boy Blue Ice Cream Stand, so there is no indoor seating, just a nice patio (a tent if it rains too) or carryout.  I have eaten there twice since they opened and can say that the food is great.  I would recommend the Sahara Shawarma, which is lamb, tomato, cucumber, and a yogurt sauce.  Its similar to a gyro in that the meat is roasted on a vertical spit however shawarma is actual chunks of lamb whereas a gyro is a mixture of ground up and pressed meat.  The sandwich comes with a choice of a side dish.  I would highly recommend the Fatoush salad.  It is a mix of lettuce, toasted pita, these pickled things (some strange cucumber maybe?), tomato, and cucumber with a nice tangy vinaigrette.  The hummus is also excellent.

Chinese buffets are fairly common anywhere you go.  Thai and Indian are also somewhat common.  Mexican buffets, not so much.  Well in South Milwaukee Azteca offers up a pretty good Mexican lunch buffet.  At $6.25 with a drink its quite a deal.  You will find such staples as ground beef tacos, beans, enchiladas, and rice but the real treat is in the other various rotating items including sopes with chicken and queso fresco,  chicken with a spicy red sauce, eggs and chorizo, chimichungas, and pork or chicken for tacos.  The salsas are awesome and sometimes they have an excellent fresh salsa with Nopoles (cactus).

I checked out the new Philadelphia Grill in the former Charcoal Grill space at 8933 S. 27th Street in Franklin.  Their menu states that the house specialty is the Philadelphia cheese steak, so naturally I tried that.  It was somewhat disappointing.  To much bread and cheese, not a lot of meat, onions, or peppers. Speaking of the cheese, they have the option of adding Cheez Whiz to make it like they do in Philadelphia which I did.  I was very disappointed to discover that it actually isn’t Cheez Whiz but rather that cheese sauce you get on hot dogs at a gas station or with a soft pretzel at the ball park.  I’ll stick with Chubby’s or The Philly Way.  Even though the menu isn’t quite sure what it wants to be (Greek, Italian, Southwestern, or Steakhouse) there are some intriguing options, including Saginaki (flaming Kasseri cheese) and some interesting sandwiches so I will definity be back to try something else.

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One thought on “New Vietnamese restaurant (and other Southeast metro area dining notes)

  1. Pho Hai Binh – I’m glad to see a new venue in the place of S&P, wasn’t a big fan of their food. I’m excited to try Pho Hai Binh.

    Philadelphia Grill – Have not tried this place yet but again, was not a big fan of the charcoal grill. For cheese steaks I heard a really good place is Chevy’s in South Milwaukee, but I cannot confirm.

    I did check out Arizona Grille across the street, where Acropolis (or something similar) use to be. They have the thing like Texas road house where you eat shelled peanuts and throw the shells on the ground. Anyway, seems out of place but my dad and I went there for a fish fry, and was quite pleased. The fish was actually seasoned properly along with the steak fries. The cole slaw was also tasty. The tarter sauce was touted as “home made” but you could tell it was nothing more than mayo and relish, a basic tarter.

    I use to work at Jim Dandy’s which is directly across the street from, what use to be, charcoal grill. This is the kind of place that tended to have new cooks every month so the food wasn’t consistent. The fried fish was breaded on the spot though and when it was made right was damn tasty. I always wanted to grab some of the breading for home but never got to it.

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