Pho Dang is Pho Real: Vietnamese pleases

It is a typical Wednesday night: college students are starving so they go to make dinner, only to discover that the prospects are bleak. The single can of corn, a few cloves of garlic and instant oatmeal do not bode well for a satisfying meal. Outside help is necessary. Luckily, Pho Dang Vietnamese Café recently opened in Winooski. Located on Main St., just past the rotary, Pho Dang is nothing if not college student friendly; the atmosphere of the small eight-table café is decidedly laid back.Simply decorated and unpretentious, it is a perfect place to go for a quick meal. The restaurant also conveniently caters to the take-out crowd.The best reason to go to Pho Dang is, of course, the food itself. The menu is fairly basic – noodle soups, noodle bowls and rice plates make up the majority of options, but the ingredients are all extremely fresh, and the amount of food for the price is impressive. Virtually everything on the menu is under $9, yet one can easily get two meals out of one order.The dishes at Pho Dang are also a nice change of pace from the typical pad thai or General Tso’s chicken that many immediately think of as Asian cuisine.The bun xao xa ot tofu – rice noodles with stir fried tofu, sweet sauce, pepper and lemongrass – is similar to Pad Thai, but is definitely unique. Lighter and spicier, the lemongrass also gives it a really interesting citrus bite.Pho Dang is a great place to take a friend for a weeknight dinner. The quick, friendly service and good, inexpensive food make it a nice place to take a breather during a busy week. However, it is not necessarily a good destination for a Saturday night date. The small, brightly lit café is not ideal for intimate conversations or any sort of romance. So, grab a friend and make the trip out to Winooski be?cause, as my housemate, while eating my leftovers, so succinctly put it, “Pho Dang?This place should be called Pho Dank.”