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“Not good if in a group”
Review of Pho U & Me

Pho U & Me
Ranked #114 of 236 Restaurants in Prince George
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Restaurant details
Reviewed 18 April 2013

There was five of us for a family supper and we were pretty much the only persons in the restaurant when we placed our order. Three of us ordered appetizers and a main course of soup. While the food was exellent and the server very friendly. One appetizer came out then one at a time the main courses. When I got my main course my mom already was served her dessert. My appetizer came at the very end of the meal when we were all ready to leave.

So if you like to take turns watching each other eat and you have a couple hours to spend, this is the place for you. I would go back by myself for the food, but I would not bring guests to this restaurant and we will not be making family visits either.

    • Value
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4  Thank WhiteWolfPG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 - 37 of 41 reviews

Reviewed 22 March 2013

U & Me still remains one of my favorite restaurant locations in town. No matter the competition, not matter my tastes, I always find myself returning. Over the three years I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve sampled dozens of dishes from dozones of restaurants, some more than earning enough praise to be considered a weekly ritual. I’ve discovered jewels buried in coal and re-affirmed my faith in the established pillars of gastronomic dogma. Throughout it all, I’ve yet to discover a local restaurant that can seriously threaten U&Me for the position. It’s not just because it occupies the same area of the lamented Suzuran; U&Me also manages to tap into its predecessor’s spirit. How else can you explain the energy reflected in the faces of the married owners? Without fail, regardless of the time of day or the day of the week, the weather outside or the instability of the city’s economy, they always greet each patron with such a measure of exuberance, you’d swear she had mistaken you for a lost child. After being sold on its cuisine by Suzuran’s owner, I paid it forward by bringing every friend I had here. My commitments to this blog precluded me becoming a regular, an attribute easily taken up by those I convinced, some of whom have become such common staples that they’re not even required to order a dish. Their “usual” is brought without prompt. That’s evidence of the quality of customer service as well as the somewhat pedestrian nature of my friends.

This day, I managed to convince Dave Brown to accompany me, one of the last of people I know still unaware of U&Me’s value. With dinner, I decided to once again order against assumptions, avoiding pho. This didn’t mean I didn’t order the shrimp salad roll, still the greatest appetizer ever made by anyone, period. At $3.50, there’s no greater value you’re ever to find, and I swear they’re getting larger each time I order one. For the main I ordered the ginger beef and requested mild spice. Remember, their mild is everyone else’s medium, their medium is everyone else’s hot, and their hot will make Giger’s Xenomorph pant*.
Being Vietnamese, the cuisine acts as a bridge between Thai and Chinese with a slight slant (I said slant) to the latter. So the ginger beef doesn’t look too far departed from similar dishes served from the culinary cistern considered to be western Chinese food. The difference is…well, everything. The sauce was made in house, and it’s a deep red with visible blades of ginger concealed within. The beef was cooked perfectly, not tough like chewing on a jacket. It is everything Chinese food could be but isn’t most of the time. A common question asked is what I’d recommend for Chinese food in Prince George. Have readers not learned anything from this blog? It would be like asking a German for recommendations while travelling in France…in 1939. Now I have an answerer. So, next time someone asks me to recommend a good Chinese restaurant, I’ll just say U&Me. Sure, it’s not Chinese, but in the end, you’ll thank me.

I sincerely cannot recommend this place enough. If not for the pho, then for their rolls, or their main dishes. Along with Shiraz, U&Me is one of the few places I’ve been to where I would make it my mission to eventually try everything on their menu.

But patrons should be reminded of the warnings I gave in my previous review (I can’t remember if I actually did, and I’m too lazy to check, to let’s just assume I did and move on). Food is delivered fast, perhaps too fast for a casual meal, but don’t feel pressured to leave after the meal is concluded. I’ve spent hours at U&Me without any pressure to clear out. Secondly, the condiments on the table are there to taunt you. Don’t let them win. Few people can really stomach the level of heat in those bottles and you could unknowingly ruin your meal if you’re too punchy with the peppers.

And that’s really the only criticism I can lay. U&Me is the one restaurant I really can’t wait to get back to. If I ever decide this blog coverage is complete, I’ll be able to finally decide on my weekly ritual, and most likely, it will be U&Me. Sure, there may be better restaurants, prestigious with a greater pedigree of talent, but U&Me delivers quality and doesn’t break your bank doing it. A large soup will drag you into the current if you’re not careful. A meal for two will be less than 40 bucks. A lunch could still come under 10 bucks unless you go for the signature Vietnamese coffee which I never drink (I despite coffee).

Seriously, I’m gushing more than a prom queen with a menstrual problem. U&Me has never disappointed and never will. It’s some of the best Asian cuisine you’re likely to ever have, an honorable successor to when this same location served the best sushi ever.

DECOR: 7.5

OVERALL: 8.9 out of 10
* Acid for blood, remember.

    • Value
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    • Food
1  Thank PrinceGastronome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2013

This is a Pho place of good quality, only because there is no competition. In a big town like Vancouver Pho's would have to up their game a bit to stay afloat. But if you like pho visiting once in a while will satisfy your craving

Thank ymichalb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2012

Let’s go through the list. Malaysian? Check. Japanese? Check. Vietnamese, Chinese? Check, Ch…actually…
Oddly, I haven’t taken in a Chinese restaurant yet as part of this blog. You think I would. It won’t be today, for today I’m bracing myself for Thai, a popular culinary option, but not often seen in restaurants in town. Instead, Thai is reserved for home cooking via premade jars and powdered mélanges necessitating little more than animal or vegetable parts and the proper utensils for cooking. This is in contrast to Indian food, which I have noticed a rise in restaurants and a lack of home cooks willing to try it at home. The extreme of this is sushi, an industry virtually cornered by the essential tools and skills required to do proficiently.
It’s one of the reasons why I avoid making sushi myself.
My little town is blessed to have a Thai restaurant, but is it a true Thai restaurant or a generic Asian location with added peanut sauce? I’m being conducted through this experience by a guide as charming as the meals she is about to order for us. I’m instructed that the first sign of a good Thai restaurant is the prevalence of Thai royalty, often seen in massive gilded frames about kingdom. I’m warned that unless I find a gaudy gold bordered painting presenting stately Asians with the emotional range of a runway model, I should turn and walk out. The second sign of a good Thai restaurant is its high quotient of elephants. Upon walking into Mai Thai, I’m greeted by two small gold statues and a giant elephant head behind the desk. No, it wasn’t taking orders…although in retrospect that would be a brilliant idea.
I know I’m provoking an attack for claiming so but Thai cuisine has always felt like a blend borrowed from neighboring nations. With four countries surrounding it, your assumptions about Thai food can be considered wholly mistaken depending on which region you’re visiting. When presented Thai cuisine in Canada, we’re treated to a “greatest hits” collection from these various regions. This is similar to Indian food, where majority of dishes you recognize all derive from a single region a tenth the size of the country. This results in confusion about what is accepted as tradition. I was once criticized for using coconut milk in an Indian dish by a friend that claimed Indian dishes don’t use it (he should tell the entire west coast of India that).
With Thailand, its cuisine may appear to the cursory examiner as derivatives of Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes. However, this is mostly due to the lack of Cambodian, Burmese and Malaysian restaurants in North America. We do happen to have a Malaysian restaurant in town (previously reviewed), though I found it imitative of westernized Chinese food (which I never could find while I was China). I see these associations reflected in Thai mythology as much as in their food. For those that don’t believe me, I can show you a picture of a statue of a Buddha riding a four-headed nāga.
To enforce the argument that Thai food runs the risk of being confusing, the yellow curry Mai Thai offers is nearly identical to its Indian cousin. The red curry eventually ordered is made from coconut milk while the pho we also get uses lemon juice. These two distinct bases originate from two different regions in Thailand, yet here they are side-by-side. With the pho, I’m served a delicious but perilous minefield sprinkled by inedible wheatgrass and leaves. Along with the pho is ordered something known only…as larb.
I should first explain how I discovering larb. The menu lists a variety of salads, though only two have the name “salad” in them. The others are listed with a variety of titles, all seemingly derived from the same six single-syllable words, kaow, pak, nam, pick, pow, and tom. One has as many as four of these. Then, alone at the top, is a single word…larb. It stands out. Larb is a popular meat salad prevalent in Thailand and Laos, served with a side of lettuce. Its flavor and texture is unique and enjoyable. You think after soup and larb (also called larp, to my friends’ enjoyment), we would be done.
The mains arrive, including red curry with a side of rice shaped like the bowl I would rather have it in. The red curry is more like curry soup, with chicken and various spices waddling in a loose coconut sauce. I am struck again by the practice of charging an extra $2.50 for rice; that’s markup. It wasn’t even that much rice, not even close to match the amount of curry in the bowl. It’s important to know that I brought home a substantial amount of leftovers, mostly red curry. The larb was picked clean.
Although I was warned that Mai Thai had very slow service, it didn’t appear the case this evening. The final price was considerable and reminded me a lot of Karahi King. With the tip, the total meal came to a fraction over $60. Granted, this did include four plates of food. I would wager to expect a lunch for one to cost a little over $20.
Mai Thai doesn’t feel fake or rushed. It feels as though you are eating real Thai food, not a western translation like so many other Asian restaurants. Sometimes I get upset at the pressure we lay on restaurants, and the assumptions those restaurants make about the food we want. It’s a travesty in a town this big, with nearly a dozen Chinese restaurants in town, that none of them offers traditional Chinese food. Only one offers dim sum, and that dim sum being an embarrassing selection of shipped frozen premade dumplings and buns you can get cheaper from a local grocer. With Mai Thai, you get the impression that you’re eating something taken directly from traditional recipes. Nothing feels adapted or sanitized for western consumption. I know this may not be entirely true considering my lack of expertise in Thai cuisine. Regardless, Mai Thai is the best we can hope for and it’s far better than we expect.
Food: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Presentation: 5/5
Value: 3/5
Recommendation: 4/5

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    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank PrinceGastronome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2012

Should be rated Number one I have never had a bad meal and go all the time the coconut chicken is to die for and the soups are amazing everything is made from scratch DELICIOUS!!!!! Be prepared for slow service tho as items come out as they are cooked not all at once so that you get everything as fresh as possible. Some people may get dishes while other are waiting but worth the wait every time

    • Value
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Thank Nat21PG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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