Skokie restaurant on main street, Pho Phu Linh.

Pho Phu Linh: The Perfect Local Pho Spot

Mar 15, 2023

Picture this – Ella Lindemann and Emma Schieffer, hand in hand, traipsing into Pho Phu Linh in Skokie on Main Street. It is cold and wet outside and they are seeking a steaming bowl of Pho. Whether you need a place to enjoy a meal with family or a friend (like in our case), Pho Phu Linh is a great option.

The walls on the right side of the restaurant are covered in black and white photographic wallpaper, the floor plan is open and the warm lighting gives the space a homey feel. While the restaurant wasn’t very busy, especially for 7:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, there were many families and groups of friends enjoying time together.

While the restaurant is called a Vietnamese Noodle House, one side of the menu offers Vietnamese and Chinese food and the other half offers Japanese food. The wide variety of selection was impressive, but we focused mainly on the Vietnamese options.

Round Steak and Brisket Pho

Round Steak and Brisket Pho from Pho Phu Linh.

Pho is a Vietnamese classic, and Pho Phu Linh made the perfect bowl to satisfy our needs on a cold snowy night. The broth didn’t have much flavor on its own, but it is essential to the rest of the dish, keeping the noodles and meat warm and complimenting the flavors made the dish.

The steak and brisket were perfectly cooked, I do however wish they were smaller pieces because it was a little awkward to bite into the meat and then have it fall back into the bowl that I was sharing, but that might be personal preference. The taste of the meat with the simple noodles paired well together, and I enjoyed the dish so much.

Although the food was amazing, the leftovers didn’t have much of the same effect. We took them to enjoy for another night; however, it didn’t taste as well one night later, but maybe I was warming it up wrong.

Chicken Rice Vermicelli Bowl

Chicken Vermicelli Bowl from Pho Phu Linh.

For anyone who is a big fan of contrasting textures, the rice vermicelli bowl is a wonderful option. The noodles are soft and bouncy, the vegetables are crunchy and fresh and the chicken was perfectly grilled and in sizable pieces so that it easily mixed into the bowl. There were also fried onions, lettuce and basil. All topped with a vinegary sweet chili dressing. We felt that the balance of vermicelli to the other ingredients was a little uneven just because there were so many noodles, however for $11.50 the amount of food was worth the price.

Shrimp Tempura Roll

Shrimp Tempura Roll from Pho Phu Linh.

We ordered this because we wanted to try something from the Japanese side of the menu and Emma had never tried sushi before. The sushi came out quite a bit later than the rest of the food and was cut into five very large pieces. The presentation, while it had fancy swirls of eel sauce covering the plate, also included the end pieces of the sushi. It wasn’t rolled very tight and immediately fell apart once scooped up with chopsticks. The shrimp tempura was freshly fried and also left the roll warm and the seaweed a little soggy. We wouldn’t recommend getting this specific roll, but we are aware that other rolls with actual raw fish may live closer to our standards. Despite the slight oddity of this roll, it was only $7.50 which is impressive because it has shrimp in it.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee is a must-try for any coffee enthusiast. It is made using a drip coffee method and mixed with a sizable amount of condensed milk. It is much thicker than the usual iced coffee made with regular milk and a lot stronger too. It leaves you caffeinated and sugared up. Also, getting it iced is a perfect complement to a hot bowl of pho. When the coffee was delivered to the table it was easy to tell that it had been freshly made because the ice hadn’t fully done its job and the plastic cup was still the slightest bit warm. Also, Pho Phu Linh has crushed ice which is arguably the best ice for coffee.

Overall, the service was quick, our pho and vermicelli bowl came out in about 10 minutes, and the staff was very friendly. The food was very enjoyable and so was the company. If you are looking for a low-key meal to share with someone, Pho Phu Linh is a good option.

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