Las Cruces, NM
Over the years I have come to expect that some of the most disappointing food in Las Cruces would be found on University Avenue across the street from the New Mexico State University campus (where I once took classes in Earth Science). It did not take a scientific study, though, to determine that usually the best restaurants were located elsewhere.
This is one reason that I was surprised as well as pleased to find out that Pho Zero Degree, a relative newcomer on the Las Cruces dining scene, was quite good. I am not just saying that I think it is quite good, but Vietnamese food is one of the cuisines with which I have enough experience to know a good thing when I find it..
This is a small, largely self service restaurant where a large number of takeout orders were served while I was the only one who was dining in. The menu is limited compared to most Vietnamese restaurants, but they definitely have choices other than pho. The menu was lacking some of the more “exotic” dishes, though, such as pork chop, Bun Bo Hue, or Canh Chua.
The Vermicelli Bowl with Lemongrass Tofu was an easy choice because I usually order lemongrass dishes when they are available, and I like tofu (here it is more accurate to say that I loved the tofu). I really loved the lemongrass as well, and I found it to be among the best I have had. The serving portion was a good size, and it came with all the vegetables, peanuts, and condiments (fish sauce, etc.) it should have. There was no chile paste available (which I usually have with vermicelli bowls or with any Vietnamese dish) but they had Sriracha sauce. The flavor of everything was excellent, including the tofu.
The restaurant did not have any hot tea (something they usually serve but were out). Considering that this was on one of the seemingly growing number of one hundred degree plus days being experienced in Las Cruces, not having hot drinks may be understandable. In what may be an effort to reach a zero degree ecosystem, they do have smoothies, Vietnamese iced coffee, Thai tea, etc..
I still cannot get over the prices charged by all restaurants, but Pho Zero Degree was affordable and was inexpensive compared to most. Because it was mostly self service I left a moderate tip, and I was happy they are not trying to shame people into a 20 to 25 percent tip while the service does not really warrant doing this. In any case, the food here is not the only reason I would choose this restaurant over many others.
They do not put MSG in any of the food, yet the flavors are very good (go figure…). The Taco Bell decor does not really provide for an upscale atmosphere but the food is really good quality. It is only the menu that has far more limited choices than usual which keeps me from giving it a higher rating.
Hours: Closed Sun.
Smoking: No smoking
Most Recent Visit: Jun.. 19, 2023
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Lemongrass Tofu Vermicelli Bowl