Far East Nashville isn’t what we’ve been used to in Vietnamese food. The classic family places in West Nashville have ruled here, and continue to do so with huge menus, authentic tastes and really good food. Far East Nashville strips all of that down with a simple, almost Spartan, menu and a hip East Nashville location. After you settle in and see what the chef is doing the answer becomes clear: we’re finally ready to branch out in this town and try something new.
Update 11/27/10: What better antidote for the post-Thanksgiving blahs than a warm bowl of pho. We landed at Far East Nashville for lunch on Friday. The original review was a Meat Eater only excursion. Now, they have an entire vegetarian section on the growing menu (still rather modest next to the other Vietnamese joints in town.) Green vegetable stir fry; bamboo, mushroom and tofu; and fish sauce grilled eggplant grace the menu.
Veggie Eater: The veggie section of the menu is a welcome addition. My green vegetable stir fry warmed me up on this cold fall day. The greens were slightly bitter and in a mildly hot sauce. The tofu was a happy vehicle to absorb the sauce. Not sure if the fish sauce grilled egg plant (which is listed on the veggie section of the menu) uses a vegetarian fish sauce (there really is such a thing). We inquired about vegetarian pho and were sadly told that efforts to add this menu item have been scrapped in the current space, as the kitchen is simply too small to accommodate completely separated preparation of a veggie version. There is some discussion about perhaps another location being added in the Vandy area and if so, this space would be larger to allow them to add more veggie items, including veggie pho. There are not any veggie apps, but for the fish eaters of the world there is a shrimp fresh roll which is served with a delightfully thick, sweet, and savory peanut sauce. He promises they will be adding more items to the vegetarian menu soon.
Meat Eater: It was good to get back here again. The traditional meat pho broth is still delicate and onion-y and featured nicely seasoned beef balls. The thin noodles are served al dente and are quite good. We paid $30 with tax and tip on this visit.