I like a restaurant with a little gumption. I also like a restaurant that has a little class, and that pretty much sums up Hana Sushi & Pho.
The class is obvious when you walk in and you are met by the modern Asian decorum. It’s pleasant, understated, with subdued colors and a pleasant vibe. Same goes for the service, from a friendly greeting when you walk in, to sharp service throughout the meal. Nice.
What about the gumption, you might ask? Well, any chef who can combine pho, the classic Vietnamese comfort food, and a burrito has got plenty of it in my book. And if they can pull it off and make it into something interesting, actually good, then that’s all the better.
The phoritto is a burrito stuffed with all the good things that comes in a steaming hot bowl of pho, like sliced beef, rice noodles, crunchy daikon, cilantro and sliced jalapenos, wrapped in a flour tortilla and comes with a side of pho broth for dipping. Pretty cool, right?
The menu is just as bold, in many ways. There is a lunch menu, with a good selection of Japanese classics, like Bento boxes, hibachi and sushi, but I prefer to order off the main menu. There are 15 specialty rolls, and three baked rolls, if you want to try something a bit different.
The main Japanese menu must have close to 75 options, everything from 13 appetizers, nigiri, sushi, sashimi, 11 hibachi options and a lot more.
And believe it or not, the Vietnamese menu is just as big: Look for dishes that are based on egg noodles, rice noodles, rice, pho, banh mi, a few specials, including a few Thai options. It’s a bit overwhelming, but, like I said, it takes gumption to offer such a broad menu and to be able to carry it off as well.
I tried the jalapeno popper, a special that day, which were delightfully plated, with special attention to color and texture, spicy and delicious, and shrimp wrapped in wanton wrappers and deep-fried.
I just had to have the phoritto and, although it was far more than I could eat, it was delicious. I alternated between dipping it in spicy Sirach and the pho broth. What a delight. Mark Dubaz, my lunch partner, had the salmon teriyaki Bento box and was delighted with every bite.
Hana Sushi & Pho is a bright spot in Coast Asian cuisine. It is bold in concept but has enough of the classics to get the job done. Give this place a try and don’t forget to check out that crazy phoritto!
Hana Sushi & Pho
Where: 2667 Pass Road, Biloxi
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday