Considering this is a lost blog post that I had written months ago and completely forgot to post, Pho Xic-Lo is still fresh in my head. Vietnamese cuisine is one of my all time favourite asian cuisines. As you may have remembered in my love letter to Pho, it is one of my all time comfort foods. During my time with a certain liquor retailer I worked beside one of the best Vietnamese restaurants I’ve ever been to. This place became a regular lunch or dinner location for me, their rare beef pho was earth shattering, and their pork dumplings still haunt my dreams.
Calgary has a large Vietnamese population so there was a plethora of great places to get Pho, Windsor on the other hand has much fewer places to choose from. So I made my way to Pho Xic-Lo with low expectations and an empty stomach. In my experience with most ethnic restaurants, the less fancy the place looks the more likely it is to blow your mind. Pho Xic-Lo looks like a slightly more relaxing version of my high school cafeteria*.
I decided to order the Mango Salad and the Rare Beef and Well Done Brisket Pho, and cafeteria food it was not.
The Mango Salad was delightful, julienned mango and carrot, shrimp and a fish sauce vinaigrette. The presentation of this salad was really spectacular with bright colours and almost a bird’s nest design. Flavour wise it was complex and inviting while also being sweet, sour, hot and fishy. A salad that packs this much flavour should get it’s own review but I am going to just say, go have this salad and thank me later.
The soup was also really good, not the greatest most mind blowing Pho I’ve ever had but it’s really solid. I’ve never had a rare beef and well done brisket pho before but the play on texture in this soup is the real treat. Paper thin beef that has been flash cooked in the broth and slightly sinewy brisket that has a nice chew to it playing off each other in a rich broth. The noodles were plentiful and perfectly cooked. All of the possible Pho companions were brought to the party for my customization needs, cilantro, lime, hoisin, sriracha, bean sprouts, red pepper sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce were all there.
So if you live in Windsor and you have a craving for great vietnamese cuisine, Pho Xic-Lo Vietnamese Noodle House, should be your first thought.
*This is much less of a slight than it sounds, it just feels a tiny bit institutional. Which boded well for the food based on my previously stated backwards correlation for ethnic restaurants.