Tucked into a large storefront in a shopping mall in deep south Overland Park sits an exciting new entrant into Kansas City’s culinary landscape. Pho Sai Gon is now open for lunch and dinner, serving up seafood hot pots, pho, beef noodle soup, bánh mì and much more to a large clientele that was clearly ready to welcome it.

Pho Sai Gon is a fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant managed by Huang Tran, and owned by the Tran family. The restaurant serves homestyle, traditional Vietnamese comfort food, as well as Vietnamese coffee and a small selection of desserts.

Upon walking in, customers immediately enter into the large dining room, which accommodates about 100 at four- and two-top wooden tables, which are often reconfigured to accommodate large families. To order, customers proceed to the back of the restaurant, to a counter facing out from the open kitchen, busting with half a dozen cooks working over stoves and bubbling pots.

The menu is available in a large format, with photos, on the wall next to the counter where orders are placed. Customers can opt for pho: beef, chicken or tofu. The pho is available in small, medium and large servings ($6.99 to $10.99), and comes stuffed with fresh vegetables, including scallions, carrots and herbs, in addition to rice noodles. A spicy beef noodle soup is also available ($6.99-$10.99), which includes onion, chile pepper, basil and mint, on top of a generous serving of thick udon noodles. A less common (to Kansas City) offering is the crab paste rice noodle (also $6.99 to $10.99), which features hunks of crab cake served in broth with vegetables and rice noodles.

For a more conventional (but no less delicious flavor), opt for the sweet, barbecue-style pork chops ($8.99), which are served over rice noodles with a fried spring roll, or the bánh mì, served with pork or tofu ($3.99). Customers can also choose fresh spring rolls, which are made with fresh shrimp or tofu and served with peanut sauce (3 for $3.99). Seafood and beef hotpots are also available, either in single or enormous family-style portions ($11.99 to $34.99), enough to feed several diners. The seafood hotpot includes shrimp, mussels, tilapia and langostine; the beef comes with tender, thin slices of loin. Also available is fried tofu, served either with sweet chile sauce or peanut sauce, or served in a bath of tangy tomato sauce ($4.99 to $7.99). On the sweet side, tofu pudding, sticky rice with mung bean, and small mung bean cakes are available ($.99 to $3.99). Soft drinks and Vietnamese coffee ($3.49) are available to drink.

Pho Sai Gon was an immediate hit in the neighborhood, and large families are often seen eating here in the evenings and on weekends. The service model and menu selection makes the ordering process quick, however, and even when the dining room is full, wait times for food are rarely longer than about 15 minutes.

Pho Sai Gon is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 9pm and Sunday from noon to 8pm (closed Wednesdays).

Pho Sai Gon, 14861 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, Kansas, 913.549.6420, phosaigon.cafe

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April is a Kansas Citian by way of New Mexico, worker bee, freelance writer and photographer, food, music, animal and travel lover.

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