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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 9:00am–10:00pm

Features Kid-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted

Far North Austin
1601 Ohlen Rd.
(512) 832-9585
Tan My
Decent pho and rice plates that won’t get your noodle hard

You can tell a restaurant’s target clientele from the music station. In the case of Tan My, a pho shop just north of 183 in the Vietnamese nexus of Austin, that music is Whitey McAnglopants. Wilson Phillips white. Weekday lunches draw the appropriate crowd, although there’s a vague peppering of color and age—pho has its fans universally. But the draw isn’t really the food—it’s pretty average. On one visit, a doctor lunching with his staff arrived to the gregarious owner greeting him by name. “That’s why I come here,” he cheerfully informed them. On another visit, a loud Texas-twanged voice gave feedback to this same owner about her pho: “Make noodle more soft! Noodle too hard!”

Actually, those noodles are the best thing going at Tan My; the broth is decent, but sauce warriors will lose its subtle flavor completely as they employ the squirt bottles on the table—tripe adds a funky uric edge, and fatty brisket gives it a buttery richness. But really, the toothsome noodles, so often overcooked to a mushy mass elsewhere (now we know why), are a highlight. Rice plates are fine, but the nuoc mam is too sweet—ask for limes. Charbroiled pork chops, although overcooked as usual, have a lovely grill flavor; fear not the shredded skin, whose texture of flour-coated rice noodles adds intrigue. Between the Richard Marx and the Anglo feedback, this place needs all the help it can get.

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