Jihye Chang

Tallahassee Eats, Tasty Beer Garden

Want to eat a bowl of Pho in Tallahassee? The only option, in my opinion, is the Tasty Beer Garden. The unfortunate thing is that they serve it only on Fridays.

I like their Pho – it’s simple, the noodle’s not too thick, broth is tasty (I like a little deeper flavor, but TBG’s Pho is not too salty or MSG loaded), and it comes with bean sprouts+basil leaves+lime wedge. I prefer this bowl to the other Phos in town.

Tasty Beer Garden opened in the fall of 2011. It’s a cute little place in the Railroad Park. It doesn’t claim to be a Vietnamese restaurant, although it’s run by Vietnamese people. As the restaurant’s name suggests, they have a decent beer list and a nice patio area. Also they serve some of the American dishes such as meatloaf. I like some of the Vietnamese dishes (well enough to make occasional visits, even when it’s not Friday), and my husband likes the Affligem beer.

Some of the dishes I like are:

* Fresh spring rolls (Goi Cuon) – FAR from the best I have had, but this is the best option in town. Elsewhere it’s too expensive or not good enough for various reasons. (noodles too thick, weird crab stick or funny tasting ham slice involved, etc.) Personally I wish TBG’s rolls had more herbs and less noodles, but still I sometimes crave these little snacks so much that I don’t mind the flaws.

* Bahn Mi – Again, not the best I have had.. but good enough. I like the pork sandwich better than the beef one. The spicy mayo seems to come from a bottle, and it’s a bit too sweet for my taste. Meat seems to be in-house cooked, and is tasty.

* Rice combination – My favorite things to order in good Vietnamese restaurants are Goi cuon, rice combination, Pho dak biet, and noodle salad. But at Tasty Beer Garden, I don’t order the noodle salad any more as the noodles are a bit overcooked and the pickles seem too watery and not pickled enough.  The rice combination is fun to order, and it’s good for the price.

The biggest let-down, at least for me, of this place is that every utensils and plates they use are plastic disposable, except the Pho bowls. I really wish they would at least use real forks and spoons. It makes me feel so guilty eating there. But as long as this is the only pho option in Tally, I will probably go back there every now and then.

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