SPOONED: Bamboo Restaurant
Updated: Feb 11
I'm a sucker for creative marketing. Enter in Milwaukee's Phobruary, an annual $5 special --an ode to a bowl of noodles, meat, scallions, and broth--each February at traditional Thai/Laotian restaurants in the Silver City neighborhood.
Not only is it a clever strategy, it's pretty good, too.
To try it for the first time, we went to Bamboo on 34th and National.
At noon on a Thursday the place was packed. We were instructed to sit anywhere.
I reviewed the menu and looked over the pho options: beef and meatball, shrimp, and the house special.
Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup with noodles, onions, and broth simmered for hours.
I ordered the beef and meatball pho with one of my Thai favorites: Thai iced tea.
After a beat, the waitress returned to us with veggies: a platter of sprouts and jalapeno.
Then it happened.
A huge bowl of steaming hot, brown broth with green onion, meat, and noodles longer than my legs was placed in front of me with a jumble of spoons and forks.
I dove in.
It was a food hug, instantly.
Unaware I could have ordered a spice level with this I didn't.
But luckily, there's chile sauce on all the tables to adorn your bowls with heat if you so choose.
That turned up the flavor and you don't need a whole lot. I love spicy food, so I added a teaspoon or two.
It was a little awkward slurping up the noodles in public, but I learned that the jumble of forks and spoons is to help you twirl the noodles on the spoon with a fork then devour. There's a separate, wider spoon for the broth.
Between the ardor of twirling the noodles, the steam from the broth, and the chile sauce I noticed how hot I was. Is this a workout?
I was halfway through my bowl when I couldn't eat anymore.
My belly was full and so was my afternoon. Not bad for $5.
Try it yourself. Phobruary ends February 29.
Participating Silver City restaurants:
Bamboo Thai and Lao Restaurant
Thai Bar B Q
See you at the table.