Restaurant Review: Pho Today

This Fort Lee hotspot has something for everyone.




I learned a lot about food from my mother, who, for as far back as I can remember, passed on to me her various loves and cravings. She tries everything, chooses savory over sweet, eats oodles of noodles and devours anything that’s fried. And, boy, am I thankful that I inherited her palate. She’s the one who turned me on to Vietnamese cuisine, when back in the day she offered it to break up the Filipino and Chinese dishes that were ordinarily served at our home. That early introduction came in handy when my friend and I dined at Pho Today, which recently opened in a Fort Lee storefront at the doorstep of the George Washington Bridge. 

Prominent on Pho Today’s logo and painted on a front window is “Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine,” a claim that we quickly confirmed. For starters, we split goi cuon tom, a refreshing shrimp summer roll filled with vermicelli noodles, veggies and, of course, large pieces of the tasty crustacean. I’ll admit though that the roll, on its own, was lacking in flavor but got a boost when dipped in the accompanying peanut sauce.
Our second app was banh xeo, an overwhelming large Vietnamese pancake filled with bean sprouts and onion. Like the summer rolls, this dish also leaned toward the bland side but was saved by a vinegar-based sauce that came with it. 

Although we finished off the banh xeo, my friend and I were still salivating for our entrees, which we opted to share. A sure-fire order is the restaurant’s namesake dish, pho today. (For those counting, Pho Today offers nearly two dozen pho varieties, including brisket, flank, tripe, seafood and shrimp.) Unlike our starters, the bowl was filled with flavor. Mouthwatering slices of filet mignon, oxtail, scallions and vegetables enriched the natural taste of the super clean broth—nothing premade or from powder here.  

Our heartier second main was the com tam today, which was recommended to us by our server. This rice plate had something for everyone: a perfectly grilled and juicy pork chop, a generous portion of shredded pork, a halved fried spring roll (stuffed with shrimp and pork), fried shrimp tofu, a sunny-side up egg atop a mound of white rice and a medley of fresh vegetables. While the two pork selections on the plate hit the mark, the shrimp tofu fell flat in the flavor department. We chalked up the blandness of the tofu as well as the other plates to a philosophy found in many Asian kitchens: Meats and vegetables provide the initial taste, while extra seasoning from spices and sauces is controlled by the diner.  

We didn’t encounter that issue during dessert. I had che ba mau, a traditional multi-colored treat with layers of crushed ice, coconut and red and mung beans. While not a common item at ice cream parlours, this is just as satisfying as any cool summertime sweet. Skeptical about 
my choice, my friend sipped a delicious taro tea smoothie—but she was easily won over after sampling my dessert, as I knew she would. I thank Mom for giving me the lesson on desserts too.

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February 2020

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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The sudden loss this past fall of the iconic pianist Harold Mabern was felt perhaps nowhere else more than the halls of William Paterson’s jazz program, where he taught for 39 years and had a...

Cost: $8-$15

Where:
William Paterson University Shea Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
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Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
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East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations on Wednesday evenings. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in community....

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

More information

Show More...
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Contact Name: Vijosa Hoxha
Website »

More information

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Cost: General public $15, Senior Citizens/Bergen Faculty/Staff $10, Students $5. All t

Where:
Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ  07652
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Sponsor: Bergen Community College
Telephone: 201-447-7428
Contact Name: Ticket Box Office
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David Burke Orange Lawn
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Telephone: 973-552-2280

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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

The Les Paul Festival Concert featuring The Young Philadelphians With a career spanning over 40 years and 25 albums, legendary guitarist Marc Ribot will take the stage with The Young...

Cost: $24-30

Where:
Berrie Center for the Arts
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505 Ramapo Valley Rd.
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Ramapo College of NJ
Telephone: 201-684-7844
Contact Name: Box Office
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Internationally acclaimed violinist Laura Hamilton will be featured with the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra on Friday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m., at the West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood. The...

Cost: $35, $25 (Seniors), $5 (Students)

Where:
West Side Presbyterian Church
6 Monroe
Ridgewood, NJ  07451
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Sponsor: Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 973-435-7057
Contact Name: Martha Whiteley
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Court Gallery This exhibition is an exploration of Paterson, New Jersey and the Northeastern region through bodies of water­­––an investigation of ecology and landscape that fosters a closer...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

East Gallery This exhibition features recent artist books and prints by Casey Gardner, the Grand Prize recipient of the 2018 Ink, Press, Repeat exhibition. Drawing inspiration from cartography,...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free Admission

Where:
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Sponsor: Excel Travel
Telephone: 732-571-1960
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South Gallery ABOUT THE COMPETITION  Since 2001, the University Galleries at William Paterson University has organized a juried printmaking exhibition featuring traditional and digital print...

Cost: Free

Where:
William Paterson University Ben Shahn Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

More information

San Jose Taiko’s distinct performance style blends traditional rhythms of Japanese drumming with the beat of world rhythms, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin and Jazz. Known for...

Cost: $20-$25

Where:
William Paterson University Shea Center
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ  07470
View map »


Sponsor: William Paterson University
Telephone: 908-370-4221
Contact Name: Zach Hertz
Website »

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