Wild Pho replaces the Orient in Lawrence

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Wild Pho in Lawrence serves soft beef spring rolls that are almost too pretty to eat.
  • Wild Pho in Lawrence serves soft beef spring rolls that are almost too pretty to eat.

If you're a fan of the crispy, gluten-free fried chicken - Oh Boy! Chicken - that Lawrence restaurateur Nancy Nguyen served out of her Vietnamese restaurant, the Orient, at 1008 Massachusetts, you're in luck.

The Orient has, after a 16-year run, departed from Massachussetts Street, but Oh Boy! Chicken lives on in new Vietnamese restaurant Wild Pho Vietnamese Bar & Restaurant, at 1006 Massachusetts. For the last few weeks, it has been serving steaming bowls of pho, banh mi sandwiches and rice dishes in the space formerly occupied by another Nguyen restaurant, the short-lived Angler's Seafood House, which had been operated by Nguyen's son, Ted.

A true cure for the common cold: steaming hot chicken pho seasoned with lime, cilantro, and basil.
  • A true cure for the common cold: steaming hot chicken pho seasoned with lime, cilantro, and basil.
Wild Pho is the brainchild of Nguyen's new partner, a young man named Luis Huang, who is unapologetic about his cuisine: "The Orient was very good. But this new menu is better."

Bottles of beer and beer glasses chill behind the glass doors of a Coke cooler along one side of the dining room. A cold beer (or Thai iced tea or even chocolate milk, if you're so inclined) makes a soothing counterpoint to a plate of curry tofu or one of the fragrant pho bowls seasoned - by the diner, of course - with slices of fresh jalapenos or fiery red Sriracha sauce. All of the pho bowls (there are more than a dozen choices) are served with a generous array of flavor-enhancing possibilities: sprigs of anise-scented Thai basil, a jumble of bright-green cilantro, fat wedges of fresh lime, crunchy bean sprouts.

The banh mi sandwiches are very tasty, but instead of being served on a traditional French baguette, they come on something closer to a soft hoagie roll.

Wild Pho is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. And, yes, you can still request an order of Oh Boy! Chicken with your pho.


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