Jackson Imagery
Though North Killingsworth may not automatically jump to mind when one is looking for fine dining establishments, Pho Thanh Thao rests on the verge of being upscale without wearing fancy pants, or charging fancy-pants prices. Their dining room sprawls and is enhanced by attractive lighting, plants, colors and music, making it more than just another place that will "be good enough for lunch." The service is snappy, and you never get the feeling you're about to be yelled at. (Don't laugh! I've been on the receiving end of a couple of Vietnamese restaurant ass-chewings, and they're no fun.) However, all the impressive design aesthetic in the world doesn't mean diddly if the menu isn't up to snuff, and happily, Pho Thanh Thao is a success at this as well.

If you're planning on dining in, you can feel perfectly safe going for any of their many "special" selections; Roast Duck with Chinese Buns and Crispy Chicken with Ginger Sauce are a sure way to seduce the frostiest date. However, for crashing on the couch at home with an episode of Smallville, I suggest going for the rich and hearties; starting with an order of salad rolls. Thick and tight, these pretties transport well, the ingredients are of the freshest variety, and the sauce is a delight. One order makes a delicious small meal, for those on a tight budget.

And though their Vietnamese items are stronger than the Thai side of the menu, don't miss out on the Pad Thai Noodles. Weighty without being overbearing, this peanutty Pad ranks up with Portland's best. A charbroiled pork bun is also a great take-home treat, thanks to fresh noodles, and perfectly prepared piggy. Regardless of what you choose, Pho Thanh Thao transports nicely; whether it's going to the table or the couch. WSH