Like a whisper, Stock opened this past weekend at 308 E Girard Avenue. I know this, not because of Twitter or Facebook (they don’t have one), not because of a website (they don’t have one) but because of the only connection they’ve given us thus far: their Instagram account.
But I had my first taste of the Fishtown pho, and it was glorious.
Like the place itself, the menu is tiny: two salads, two raw items, two soups, some non-alcoholic drinks (it's BYOB), and a little dessert salad. And like pho itself, the space was beautiful for its simplicity, and memorable for its complexity.
The restaurant looked like it was running in slow motion—but in a good way. The cooks were in their groove, the servers were in no rush, and everyone else was lackadaisically slurping away. White wood floors, black fixtures, white walls, and a black bar made up the whole restaurant; a perfect frame for the colorful plates popping out from behind the bar. A bright green mango salad was flecked and heated by bird's eye chiles, tempered by its sweetness, grounded by peanuts, and, at last, splashed with fish sauce. Kampot peppered slices of raw himachi were roused by kaffir lime and posed as perfect vehicles for the thin shards of dragonfruit they accompanied.
But the pho—the sole purpose of my trip—was what really impressed me. The broth was better than any of the pho houses on Washington Avenue, and rightfully so. Chef Tyler Akin (a former sous at Zahav) has a slew of La Boîte spices in his kitchen that make deep flavors come across as clean and delicate. In a universe of pho shops, the first sip of Stock's broth was worth memorializing, and finishing the whole bowl an experience, I hope, that more than just Fishtowners will come to love.
Keep in mind: they're closed Tuesday and Wednesday and are open Thursday-Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., as well as for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.