Yes it is that time. Time to review an affordable local restaurant that we frequent. One of our favorite places to eat with some of the best food that we have tasted, Than Brothers. We prefer the Than brothers on Everett Mall Way, however, there are many locations including Aurora Avenue North in Seattle, and a new location in Ballard.
A little history about the joint is that they originally opened in 1996 at their Aurora location. They serve Pho and the best cream puffs you will ever taste. The cream puffs are considered their specialty and are made from their mothers secret recipe. Than brothers was one of the first Pho joints in the Seattle area, and in our opinion is the best.
We always get great service at Than Brothers, but that could be because we visit almost weekly. At prices like $4.95 for a small bowl of soup which is way more than I can eat at my hungriest to $6.95 for an extra large it is not only affordable but a fantastic deal.
An average meal at Than brothers for us consists of coming in, being greeted and instructed to choose a table in the general area that one of the brothers points out, and within moments we are settled in with a plate of cream puffs and the standard plate of add-ons for your soup (sprouts, jalapenos, Thai basil and lime.) as well as two glasses of water. I usually order a small Veggie - Pho Chay soup with tofu and mushrooms or a small number 6 - Chin Nam which is rice noodle soup with brisket and well done flank. Occasionally if I order the veggie, I add brisket and beef broth. They recently added carrots and broccoli to the veggie and it made my spiced up soup irresistible.
The Mister orders an extra large number 9 - Thai Chin Nam which is rice noodle soup with eye-round steak, brisket, and well done flank. He also adds on extra meat and extra noodle. How he can stomach all that soup, I will never know. Though I do think it is because I drink my broth, and he doesn't.
Next I prepare my setting for my soup, grab a stack of napkins, a pair of chopsticks, a soup spoon and a small bowl with some hoisin sauce and a dollop of sriracha in the middle. I like to snack on the sprouts and dip them in my sauce mixture while I wait for my food, which is not long at all.
The real challenge is to see how long you can wait to eat your cream puff. My average cream puff doesn't make it past my table setting. My point of view is I will be too full after I eat my soup so I better enjoy my cream puff before the soup is served. Once the soup arrives we are presented with 2 beautiful bowls consisting of our soup of choice in a beef or vegetable broth containing cilantro, green onions and white onions. Anyone who knows me and knows my love of cilantro will understand the gloriousness of this dish to me.
One rule I have while eating pho - eat like the locals would. That means don't be the least bit scared to slurp your soup. Also, let me let you in on something now, as it took me almost a year to discover. Their lemon iced tea. It is definitely not something for someone who wants a low sugar intake, let me tell you, but boy is it delicious. warm tea with freshly squeezed lemon over a pile of ice and what appears to me to be at least a quarter inch of sugar. I like to take a sip before I stir it up. Something about the shocked tea over ice and the taste of the warm tea and cool lemonade warms my heart.
On top of the fantastic experience every time we visit, and the delicious taste of the soup here's a fun fact about pho for you. Pho is full of protein, and vitamins and minerals such as A, B, C, E, Calcium, Iron, Potassium. The soups broth is made with little oil or fat and instead of cream you can thicken it with the hoisin sauce, which is soybean paste, garlic, sugar, chilies and other seasonings. If you add in the sprouts there's an easy to digest addition of Vitamin C.
The cilantro contains a substance which kills bacteria, preventing infections from developing, if you add in some of the basil you get your iron, potassium and calcium, and powerful antioxidants that can fight premature aging. A squirt of lime adds some more Vitamin C, and contributes to a stronger immune system which can fight illness in the cold and flu season. So its no joke when you hear of pho being a great meal when you're feeling a cold coming on.
Not going to lie, Than Brothers gets a 9 out of 10 from us. Fantastic service, irresistible food, amazing value and its my favorite comfort food. This is a great affordable local restaurant.