A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my hair stylist about which restaurants he likes to frequent when he and his wife dine out. Hair stylists, much like bartenders, are privy to a lot of insider information. Why, because they have a captive audience for at least an hour. They are a wealth of knowledge from the best handyman in the city, or where to find the ultimate fish tacos, and also really good restaurants. This profession has a varied address book chock full of customers and therefore connections.
On this particular day, I was looking for ideas on places to eat. As we were talking about different restaurants, he mentioned that sometimes he just goes to his sister’s place. I asked him, doesn’t your sister get tired of you just showing up on her doorstep? He laughed and told me that his sister and her husband own a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho 99. I had just seen this Pho 99 the week before because it is located on car dealer row on Clark Road. I was at a dealership buying a new car. What a coincidence!
This week, I had to return a leased car on Clark Road and thought I would try Pho 99. I am not sure what I was expecting when I walked in but I certainly was pleasantly surprised. Inside Pho 99 is a well urban decorated eatery with nice gray tile, a bar area and plenty of seating. People were coming in to pick up orders and there were several couples dining inside. There is outdoor dining but on this hot June afternoon, the cool a/c was welcomed.
I have never ordered Vietnamese food before and I was so happy to see pictures of some of the items on the menu. I choose the chicken curry soup and my husband had the grilled lemongrass pork. We both ordered iced tea. He selected mango iced tea while I had the lychee iced tea.
The chicken curry soup came with chunks of chicken, sweet potatoes in a light, vibrant curry broth with bean sprouts, lime and noodles. The flavor of curry was perfect with hints of coconut. The pork dish had subtle hints of lemongrass and the flavor of the grilled pork reminded me of a summer BBQ. Just perfect. The lychee iced tea had hints of floral and was not too sweet. I personally have never talked about iced tea before, but this isn’t just any iced tea. It was a botanical party in your mouth. This is special tea and worth ordering.
Pho 99 is open for lunch and dinner. They break mid-day. Lunch is from 11:00 AM-2:30 PM. Dinner 5 PM-8:30 PM. Pho is located at 5191 Clark Road, Sarasota. 941-922-1888.Take-out is available. Visit their website at www.pho99sarasota.com
Photos from Shutterstock and TripAdvisor