Pho Curry Ford, a modest joint on Curry Ford Road, serves up dependable Vietnamese staples 

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Rob Bartlett

There are some undeniable merits of dining at Pho Curry Ford, not the least of which is saying the restaurant's name. "Fuckery-ford? Fuckery-ford!" we giggled at the (I assume) unintended phonetic perversity; we just couldn't help ourselves. Naturally, the sudden appearance of our server put a halt to those puerile titters, which nevertheless resumed soon after she headed back to the kitchen with our order. "Oh, you play the didgeridoo, do you? Well, I play the fuckeryford!"

I guess you just had to be there.

Anyway, when the vegetarian lotus stem salad ($8.95) we ordered came out not vegetarian, I promptly put my restaurant-reviewing game face back on. Something clearly had been lost in translation – we ordered No. 65, but were served No. 7. In the end, though, the shrimp and pork looked so appetizing on the plate that we opted not to mention the error, instead just enjoying this invigorating opener. The salad – minty, tangy, tart and sweet – was livened up further with Thai basil and a side of crackling fried prawn crackers. We scratched the veggie itch with corpulent spring rolls filled with tofu ($3.50) and egg rolls stuffed with a dense taro filling ($3.95). Both served their purpose, though neither was particularly compelling.

So it was a good thing the pho tai ($7.95) lived up to expectations. Surpassed them, in fact. The rich, dark, aromatic broth is worthy of being served in Mills 50, and the add-ins (bean sprouts, Thai basil, jalapeños, spiky saw leaf and the like) were impeccably fresh.

We followed the first-rate pho with a bloody good banh mi bò kho ($8.50) – a bowl of hearty beef stew served with doughy French bread. The broth was slightly runnier than expected, but sopping it up with bread procured from Boston Bakery (on the corner of Colonial Drive and North Ferncreek Avenue) was an absolute delight.

If the banh mi bò kho was the savory highlight of the evening, the bún with grilled pork and shrimp ($8.95) stood on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum. While aesthetically pleasing – lettuce, cucumbers and sprouts all artistically positioned atop a heap of rice vermicelli noodles – both the grilled pork and shrimp were just so utterly bland it made eating the rest of the dish a tedious exercise.

There aren't any desserts offered, and they didn't have any salty lemonade, my beverage of choice when dining at a Vietnamese restaurant.

So, yes, there's certainly room to enhance the overall experience here, and I have to credit the server for soliciting our feedback. There seems to be a genuine willingness among the staff and the owners to improve, and that's always encouraging to see. The space itself once housed Regional Grill and Bayou, and Pho Curry Ford's interior is pretty much the same – that is, there's nothing really stimulating or amusing to hold our attention. But that name!

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