One of Houston's most acclaimed pho restaurants has finally arrived downtown. Pho Binh opens for business in the Finn Hall food hall beginning at 11 am on Monday, July 19.
First announced in March 2020, the pandemic delayed Pho Binh's debut, but the restaurant is now ready to serve pho bo (beef broth), pho ga (chicken broth), and appetizers such as chicken salad with ginger-fish sauce dressing and shrimp egg rolls.
Houston is home to several Pho Binh locations, all of which are loosely affiliated through different branches of the same family. Downtown's Pho Binh is owned by chefs Kevin Pham and Di Nguyen, operators of Chinatown's widely acclaimed Pho Binh by Night. Yes, that means By Night's signature side of bone marrow is available downtown.
A bowl of pho costs $12 and includes a diner's choice of seven different meats, including rare steak, brisket, meatballs, and beef tendon. The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday from 11 am-5 pm.
To mark the opening, Pho Binh worked with a Buddhist feng shui master to determine the most auspicious time for opening, according to information provided by a Finn Hall representative. In keeping with Buddhist traditions, the expert determined that 9 am on July 19 would be the best time. The ceremony lasted for approximately two hours, at which point customers received free samples of the restaurant's food.
Property management firm Midway and real estate investment firm Lionstone Investments added Pho Binh in 2020 as just one component of several changes made to Finn Hall. Lit Chicken, a fried chicken concept from Kitchen 713 chefs James Haywood and Ross Coleman, and Papalo Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant from Underbelly alums Stephanie Velazquez and Nicholas Vera, also joined Finn, replaced Goode Co. Taqueria and Vietnamese restaurant Sit Lo.
In addition, the food hall reduced rental rates from 30 percent of sales to 20 percent in an effort to allow the vendors to keep more of their revenue.
Ultimately, the changes aim to bring stability to the food hall, which opened with considerable fanfare in 2018. With downtown office workers slowly returning to their desks, Pho Binh's opening should be auspicious for anyone looking for a satisfying bowl of soup to power their day.