Double Your Pleasure

I’m usually wary of combo restaurants: Joe’s house of Pizza and Tacos, pizza/gyro joints, those Taco Bell/KFC franchises, Marche Movenpick. They tend to fall prey to the “Jack of all trades, master of none” problem.

So imagine my delight upon discovering that Pho Basil, the brand new Vietnamese/Thai restaurant just down Mass. Ave. from BoMag headquarters is actually very good.

The menu hits all the major points from both cuisines: Pad Thai, Bun, Pho, claypot catfish. The appetizer menu even lists Japanese gyoza and shumai. But the food is terrific, seemingly quite authentic, well-seasoned, and incredibly fresh.

One foodie colleague ordered the beef larb (finely chopped and tossed with mint, red onion, chile, lime, and cilantro) and said it was the best he’s had in Boston (and he gets around). In fact, unlike most larb, which is premixed and cold, this arrived sizzling hot, on a contrasting bed of cool lettuce.

The Banh Xeoh (Vietnamese crepe) was another hit, stuffed full of shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts and served with a generous side salad. Best of all, when I ordered the sticky rice with mango for dessert, the owner, fretting that the mango wasn’t yet ripe enough, docked my bill. “Do you like Vietnamese food?” she asked.

Yes, I do.