Jose Alejandro Bastidas, The Desert Sun 3:32 p.m. PDT September 12, 2016
Customers can enjoy freshly made specialty cocktails, freshly made spring rolls and classic Pho 533 dishes.
When Chad Gardner acquired Pho 533 in 2015 he had a vision to turn the strip mall pho joint into a South Palm Springs dining staple. Eighteen months later Gardner’s dream is closer to becoming a reality.
After a month hiatus while undergoing major renovations, Pho 533 reopened at the end of August debuting an expanded seating area, a cocktail lounge and a spring roll bar at the South Palm Springs eatery. “I’m really excited, just in the short time that we’ve been reopened it’s been very well-received,” Gardner said.
So what’s exactly new at Pho 533? We visited the restaurant and checked the place out to get you excited for your next visit.
As you enter Pho 533 you’ll find yourself at their new cocktail lounge. Sofa-style seating with tables, cocktail tables and high communal seating offer patrons a more relaxed dining option than traditional seating. The restaurant’s new Caesar stone bar offers specialty cocktails, well drinks and a brand new lounge menu. “Our signature cocktail is the Kaffir Collins,” Gardner said. We take prairie organic gin and we infuse it with kaffir lime. We let it infuse for a couple of days and actually the kaffir lime flavors the gin and we make a traditional Tom Collins. It’s a really good drink. Dangerously good.”
Gardner said he recommends the “ba mahn ga” fried chicken and the “bahn mi” hot dog dishes out of the lounge menu.
The “ba mahn ga” fried chicken is a southern-style fried chicken with Asian seasonings. The “bahn mi” dog is a fun twist on the traditional Vietnamese “bahn mi” sandwich, a bacon-wrapped beef frank on an artisan roll, topped with pickled cabbage, daikon and carrot, sliced jalapenos, served with mayo and lettuce.
Happy Hour is available every day from 3 to 7 p.m., offering half price on all specialty drinks, well drinks and lounge menu food items.
Gardner refers to the spring roll bar as a the new centerpiece of the restaurant. Whether you sit at the spring roll bar, or enjoy some rolls in the lounge or main dining area, chefs will be at the bar making your choice of 10 spring rolls in real time. “I think the spring roll bar is going to be a real big hit,” Gardner said. “A spring roll is traditionally a Vietnamese roll wrapped in that fresh rice paper. What we’ve done is, we’ve taken the inspiration from sushi rolls filled with rice, we’ve taken the rice out and we’ve wrapped them with rice paper, so it’s kind of a low-carb, no-carb version of sushi. So you get a lot of the flavors of sushi without a lot of the guilt.” Gardner highlighted the Spicy Tuna Roll, the BLT roll and the Surf and Turf roll as some of his favorite spring roll meals.
Pho 533 executive chef Andrew Verrier said he also included vegetarian and vegan options on the spring roll and lounge menus as a testament to his own tastes. “We actually started with a much larger list [of spring rolls] that we’ll probably integrate slowly into the menu,” Verrier said. “We’ll further extend the menu, and remove stuff that is not as popular overtime.”
For patrons looking for the traditional restaurant experience, the main dining room offers the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus, which contains classic Asian fusion dishes as well as the pho plates the restaurant is known for.
For more information or to make a reservation, go to pho533palmsprings.com
Jose Alejandro Bastidas is the food and drinks reporter and produce for The Desert Sun. You can reach him at Jose.Bastidas@DesertSun.com or on Twitter @jabastidas.
If You Go
Pho 533, 1775 E Palm Canyon Dr, Suite 625, Palm Springs, CA 92264 760-778-6595
Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.