Roku Sushi and Pho surprises staff member

By, Rachel McDonald

Feature Editor

Trying something new is the only way to find out if something is good or not. For me, that was trying pho — a Vietnamese soup dish with broth, rice noodles, herbs and/or meat — for the first time, along with a new type of sushi.

Roku Sushi and Pho is a Vietnamese restaurant in the strip mall at SR 135 and Stones Crossing that offers an enormous menu ranging from sushi rolls to maki rolls to pho dishes to dinner and lunch entrees with so much more in between.

I ordered the Pho Seafood because I always have loved seafood and was intrigued by the listing of its contents. It contained the regular components of pho with the rice noodles and the pho broth along with shrimp, squid, scallop, fish balls, and crab meat.

When they brought the pho to our table, they first gave us an assortment of ingredients we could add to our soup, some of which I am still unsure of what it was. There were chili flakes, Siracha sauce and oyster sauce in little dishes with spoons that we could mix into the pho. I am not a huge fan of spice, so I only added the oyster sauce. They also gave us limes, jalapeños, bean sprouts and some other plants we were hesitant to put into our pho because they were flowers and leaves. We could not tell if they were supposed to be eaten or if they were for decoration.

The different seafood that was in my pho continued to surprise me because they were hidden under all of the rice noodles. The shrimp was boiled so it had an interesting texture, and the crab meat was my favorite. The squid, however, almost scared me because I was digging through the soup with my chopsticks, and I pulled out a little squid with tentacles and everything. I was thinking the squid was going to be like calamari where it was in rings, but it was an actual small whole squid. The fish balls I found to be very weird and did not like them. They were spongy and left a bad taste in my mouth, so I did not eat the rest of them. The rice noodles were good and after I added the oyster sauce and limes, I liked the pho quite a bit.

Unlike me, my boyfriend enjoys spicy things so he added many more ingredients to his pho than I did. He ordered the Pho Tai which was prepared similarly to mine, except that instead of it having seafood, it had slices of rare eye-round steak. He added many chili flakes, Siracha sauce and limes, and he really enjoyed it. When I tasted his, I thought it to be very spicy, but it still had a good taste and I could see why he liked it since he likes spice.

The pho was in enormous portions, so I was only able to eat about a fourth of my bowl. They gave us containers so we could take the rest home. My boyfriend was able to eat a majority of it, but even he was unable to finish all of it.

Overall, both of us really enjoyed trying pho for the first time. It was an interesting experience considering it is not something I would eat on a normal basis and it is a very culturally different food dish.

Additionally, we ordered the Spicy Salmon Roll, which contained salmon, tobiko, spicy mayo and cucumber. As I had mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of spicy things, but I found this to not be very spicy and really delicious. I love sushi, and this sushi roll was unlike anything I have tried before because the spicy mayo sauce was really flavorful and unique. If I am ever to go again, I would definitely order that sushi roll again.

The small restaurant was very open and spacious. The only thing that was slightly awkward was the soda machine out in the open. It appeared to be something that we would use to serve ourselves, so when we were seated, my boyfriend and I thought we were supposed to go get cups and fill our own drinks. So when we started to, the server intervened saying that she would take care of that. That was the only uncomfortable part of our experience. Besides that, it was a neat place with such a variety of menu items.

I would recommend Roku Sushi and Pho because it is the perfect place to try something new. It was an adventure to say the least, and I feel that I have truly broadened my food horizons.