Soup stands for variation, in a word: If you've got spices and liquid, you've got soup. After that, the possibilities are endless.
Accordingly, Bobo Pho, which will likely open in the coming week on Lexington Avenue, will show off soup’s versatility. The Southeast Asian broth and noodle dish will serve as a quick business lunch on the go, dinner for friends or a late-night snack for revelers.
After dinner, the food will be “for the drunks,” as co-owner Suwana Cry puts it. In addition to the brothy bowls, the restaurant will offer straightforward bar plates of spring rolls and chicken wings. Cry, who also owns Thai Orchid on Broadway, will spice up the offerings with the Thai stylings for which she's known. “We have full flavor in our food,” she says. “You know, sweet, salty, sour and hot.”
Pho is the Vietnamese term for noodle soup; in Thailand, the concoction has a different name (kuai-tao). Cry says the name plays to the American understanding of the dish, not necessarily the spices that will season it. “In different countries, we have different ways of making it, but in Thailand, it tends to have more flavor,” she says.
Plus, it rhymes with Bobo, if you pronounce it with an American accent, that is. Co-owner Brad Reichardt, who also owns Bobo Gallery, says he encourages anglicizing the word (which is sometimes pronounce FAH).
With Bobo Pho, Reichardt and his wife, Elizabeth, will take Bobo Gallery in a new direction. “It's all one business,” he says. “It will still be a bar in the evening with the same great vibe it's always had.”
Bobo Gallery has basically become Bobo Pho, he explains, and while local art will be part of the eatery and live music will still occur on occasion, the focus is on the food and drinks. He plans to expand the bar offerings with sparkling wine, more local beer and liquor. The sake slushies that Bobo has already served will return with summer weather, he says, and when the state approves the liquor license, more frozen cocktails will follow.
Reichardt hopes the restaurant will provide on-the-go lunches and takeaway fare for downtown's residents. “This will be quick turnover, quick in-and-out,” he says. “The grab and go thing is kind of missing downtown.”
Bobo Pho, 22 Lexington Ave., will open daily for lunch and dinner. On weekends, it will serve a late-night menu.