What's in a name? Well, a lot, when the name is "Poo's." Not wanting his restaurant to go the way of Picante and Picoso—the two eateries that preceded him in this space—chef/owner Sat Duant swiftly changed his restaurant's name to the more appetizing Pho's shortly after opening. With that out of the way, he could turn his focus to the food. "I want to eat the way I cook—the healthy way," he says, and judging from the wildly successful Whole Foods just up the street, Lakeview residents have similar appetites.
True to his word, Duant doesn't use any MSG, prefers brown sugar to white and uses sea salt instead of regular salt. All the veggies are fresh, except for bamboo, but come on; you can't get that in the Midwest. Prices are reasonable for this neighborhood, too: Steamed or deep-fried veggie potstickers go for $3.95, a basil fried rice dish chock full of egg, onion, collared greens, pepper, carrots, jalapenos and shrimp is only $8.50 and the wildly popular pad khe mao (sautéed meat or chicken with bean thread noodles and veggies) will cost ya $7.95. Despite the name change, customers shouldn't get their hopes up that Vietnamese pho soup will appear on the menu.
There's been little to no re-design since Picante, so the bright red walls inside, and the tin roof and yellow and blue façade outside are an unpleasant reminder of the beloved burrito place's departure. Luckily, Duant arranged little fish and animals in flowing lines on that deep red wall, so visitors can have something new to associate with the place.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler