When a Facebook friend posted a picture of bún bò Hue and called it “pho plus,” I knew I had to try it. It was awesome, and I’ll talk about it in a bit, but first let’s discuss the delightful strangeness that is Capital City BBQ.
This little joint is often referred to as “cell phone barbeque” in my circle of friends, because it shares its tiny storefront at the corner of Saginaw Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard with a Boost Mobile outlet. And then there’s the menu. In addition to barbecue staples like pulled pork and smoked turkey, the tiny kitchen turns out traditional Vietnamese fare like pho (beef noodle soup) and bánh mì (pork sandwich). As I slurped my bún bò Hue on a recent rainy afternoon, a pair of ladies dug into a pair of barbecue sandwiches to my left, and a young couple talked about cell phone plans to my right. (Or, for the classic rock fans: Brisket to the left of me, cell phones to my right, here I am, stuck in the middle with soup. My sincere apologies to Stealers Wheel.)
This heaping bowl of soup features slices of beef and pork floating over a bed of vermicelli noodles, all in a sea of rich, spicy broth. The soup is accompanied by the tray of add-ons that’s familiar to pho fans — fresh cilantro, basil, sliced jalapeno and bean sprouts. The soup is fresh, filling and just a little spicy, which is exactly what I need when the weather gets this drab.
Warning: I butchered the name of this dish so badly that the cashier didn’t know what I was asking for. The last syllable is pronounced something like “hway,” but you may just want to point to the menu to be safe. If a small amount of embarrassment is the price of enjoying this soup, I’m OK with it.
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Capital City BBQ
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday Saturday; closed Sunday
1026 W. Saginaw St., Lansing
(517) 775-8500, facebook.com/capitalcitybbq