Pho Winglee - Mesa Vietnamese

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
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Skillet Doux
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3 months ago

So many places to fill in from the board's downtime!

One of my personal favorites to emerge over the last couple of years is Pho Winglee, the little pho shop connected to Wing Lee Fresh Poultry.

Run by Walleye (pronounced Wally) Lai and Tina Truong, it isn't substantially different from the usual pho/com/bun joints, but I always find it to be a little crisper and fresher than most, due in no small part I'm sure to the fact that it's fed by products at the market next door.

The đặc biệt phở gà Winglee, unsurprisingly, is a big winner. And though I wrote an entire article about it, I inexplicably don't seem to have a photo of it. Bizarre. Anyway, it's bordering on stark -- no seasonings other than sugar and salt. But the chickens that go into it are so good that I honestly don't miss the spices. Some fresh herbs and scallions and I'm good to go. And it's nice to have a bowl of chicken pho that's actually made with chicken rather than the usual "throw some chicken meat in beef pho and call it chicken pho" approach.

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A little richer is the hủ tiếu gà Winglee, and by "richer" I suspect MSG-laden, though I'm not sure (and that's not a complaint). It's heavy with cilantro and fried shallots, and if the pho ga is light and ethereal, this has a little more body.

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You guys, the cánh gà chiên nước mắm just kick ass. These might be my favorite wings in town. Super light and crisp, quality chicken, a salty-sweet caramelized fish sauce glaze and some stir-fried vegetables... there are so damn good. I give them a little extra splash of fish sauce, but they don't need a thing.

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The gỏi cuốn (chicken and shrimp, above) and nem nướng cuốn (grilled pork, below) are both pretty darn good as well.

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Love the bún đặc biệt here. It's loaded with goodies and a nice, intense fish sauce. I think they get their charcuterie from California along with the chickens.

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Bò lúc lắc (aka Shaking Beef) is a nice rendition, not overly sweet, perfectly cooked. If you really want to hit the sweet and salty, though...

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...the cá kho tộ is just awesome. Silky catfish in a clay pot with fish sauce caramel and tons of black pepper. If the photo looks funny, that's because this thing was bubbling and steaming like crazy. This is a seriously decedent dish.

I really enjoy this place :-)

Pho Winglee
facebook.com/Phowinglee
111 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
480-668-1060
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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