BG Eats ‘Tsunami’ serves up a storm of good pho

Tucked away in a strip mall off of Campbell Lane in Bowling Green, Tsunami offers cuisine from Vietnam, Japan and China. This particular dish, the Pho Tai Bo Vien, originates from Vietnam and consists of broth, noodles, steak, and a beef ball. Accompanying the soup is a plate of fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves and lime slices.  Nick Wagner/HERALD

John Greer

Of the wide array of Asian restaurants that populate Bowling Green, Tsunami is the rare place that serves Vietnamese cuisine. For this alone, it’s a place worth checking out. 

The inauspicious dining room was narrow and dim. Instrumental elevator-esque music hummed quietly in the background. In appearance and atmosphere, it mimics many of the casual Asian places in town that traffic in fried rice and teriyaki chicken. 

Tsunami also actually provides some of those very items in the small Chinese and Japanese sections on the menu. This seems a bit disconcerting from an authenticity perspective, but that’s not why you come. The real draw to this Vietnamese restaurant is, naturally, a popular and traditional Vietnamese street dish: pho. 

Conventional pho consists of a meaty broth filled with linguine-shaped rice noodles, morsels of meat and a variety of different condiments. Tsunami’s pho with steak was no different. Visually, the size alone made for an impressive looking bowl of food. It seemed more appropriate for sharing. A white mound of slippery rice noodles simmered amid rings of raw onion and thinly sliced slivers of steak. While the steak was rare when placed in the bowl, the heat of broth cooked it quite quickly. 

Tsunami’s pho came with a mound of bean sprouts, fragrant basil leaves, sliced jalapeños and a lime wedge on the side. Bottles of sriracha and hoisin stood at the ready, were the broth in need of any further customization. And though the steaming savory broth was pleasant as is (if not bogged down by a little too much sodium), it was these condiments that contributed the spicy and fragrant complexity it really needed. 

The only real disappointment was the tiny lime wedge, whose citrus was easily lost in the depths of the steaming broth. 

The quality of the pho stands to say that at least in terms of Vietnamese food, Tsunami can deliver. It’s a worthy and more than cheap enough choice to satisfy that pho craving.