PHO-nomenal: Sprout’s Springroll & Pho is a Great Departure from the Routine
Mar 16, 2015 12:56PM
● By Kevin
The fall of 2013 was an important time for Peter Nguyen – he got married and opened his first restaurant all in the same season. He says they were two great decisions and, in both cases, he couldn’t be happier.
Sprouts Springroll & Pho in east Mansfield is under the direction of Nguyen. The location is a sister to its Arlington counterpart and both restaurants are a family affair and operated by members of the Nguyen clan. The expansion is a testament to the Nguyen family really knowing how to do Vietnamese food right.
Path To Sprouts
Nguyen spent much of his youth in California before moving to the North Texas area with his family when he was a freshman in high school. He comes from a large family – four brothers and four sisters. During his teen years he began learning about the business at his family’s restaurant in downtown Fort Worth.
“That gave me a good chance to see what it takes to operate a restaurant that consistently provides great food and service,” says the 31-year-old. But he actually never thought he would end up in the business. “I was working in a pharmacy just a couple of years ago when I was approached by a friend who knew of a great location coming available in Mansfield,” he says. After meeting with his brother-in-law, who has operated the Arlington Sprout’s Springroll & Pho location for years, he found himself moving forward in opening his very first restaurant. “This is not what I ever thought I’d be doing,” he says. “But it has been great and I have loved every minute of it.”
Sprout’s Springroll & Pho is open seven days a week and you’ll find Nguyen there nearly every day. “In the beginning, I was here all day every day,” he says. Things changed about 5 months ago with the birth of his first child. “Now I try to take at least one day a week off so I can have some family time.”
But when he’s in the restaurant you’re likely to find him in the kitchen behind the stove cooking up fresh-to-order traditional Vietnamese dishes that often feature a dash of modern flare. “For example, many places just stick to the traditional pork spring roll,” he says. “But we have 12 different varieties of spring rolls.” He likes to tinker with his recipes, spices and marinades and has created a spicy twist to the classic edamame by mixing it with a special garlic and soy sauce concoction.
When he’s not in the kitchen, Nguyen is showing the ropes to his young employees or chatting with customers. “I want people to want to come back here for the great food that they really enjoy and for the friendly service,” he says. He’s got a staff of 14, mostly part-time employees, he shares the cooking duties with his twin brother and his restaurant can handle up to 56 customers at a time.
Sprout’s Springroll & Pho is a sit down order-from-the-menu-style restaurant and, he says, dinnertime is the busiest for them. “We serve 600 quarts of Pho (Vietnamese soup) every day,” he says. They’ve just recently begun doing a little delivery for the stay-at-home customer. The menu is diverse covering classic Vietnamese favorites (vermicelli, pho and spring rolls), vegetarian choices and a children’s menu.
Pho For Dinner…and More
Visiting with Nguyen was a delight but the real pleasure was in the food that was headed our way. He was not kidding about the variety of spring rolls. We sampled Grilled Pork and Grilled Chicken spring rolls with a tasty peanut dipping sauce. There were Grilled Shrimp and Grilled Beef spring rolls with a tangy pineapple sauce. But perhaps most interesting were the Duck Mango spring rolls. The sharp mango and sweet ginger sauce were heavenly. After hearing the sautéed edamame described we had to have a taste of that. The chili garlic soy sauce was pungently delightful. There was one more appetizer before moving to the main course, Torpedo Shrimp. These yummy treats are shrimp with cream cheese and green onions wrapped, fried and served hot.
There is an abundance of tea-based drinks (Boba Teas) to choose from here. They offer everything from smoothies and “swirls” to milk teas and “tea fusions.” We went with a Thai tea and a Mango Green Tea that was so good it seemed addictive.
Of course you can’t visit a Vietnamese restaurant without trying the pho. Nguyen brought out his Meat Lover Pho, piping hot soup with eye rounds, brisket and meatballs. Perfect for a cold winter day. We also sampled the Grilled Pork Vermicelli, which was a great version of the rice noodles, lettuce, cucumbers and mint leaves classic. But the best came last as we marveled over a scrumptious Shaken Beef plate. Tender cubes of filet mignon were perfectly flavored with sweet onions and a mild spice marinade.Sprout’s Springroll & Pho is located at 3806 E. Broad Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Visit them on Facebook or call 817-473-7423 for more information.
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