This article was originally meant to be a debate over which Cris and John fusion food is better: the phorrito or the ramenrrito. We’ll get to publishing that debate eventually. But as we diligently researched those two burritos, Cris and John made a much bigger announcement. They introduced the pho burger.
If you’re not familiar with Cris and John, it’s an Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant in North Dallas, just shy of the Addison border. Owners Cristina Mendez and John Pham have built a loyal following by inventing dishes that combine elements of their backgrounds, and then executing them brilliantly. The menu reads like a list of things that could be either really good or really gimmicky, and luckily, they’re really good.
So far. What about the pho burger?
I won’t keep you in suspense: the Cris and John winning streak continues. The pho burger is good.
Here’s how it works. On top of the beef patty, Cris and John adds many of the classic pho garnishes: basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, and “caramelized pho broth onions.” They’ve also got a savory sauce that mixes together broth flavorings with little bits of Sriracha and hoisin sauce, two common condiments available on the table. Finally, there’s the ingredient that will immediately catch your attention: a nest of rice noodles battered and fried together into a crispy pancake shape. If you’ve ever had a burger with hash browns or latkes on top, imagine the fried rice noodle version.
It all holds together very well. The crispy noodles add fun to each bite. The sauce and herb mix conjure up some of the flavors of a good bowl of pho. If you need more, an extra cup of sauce and an extra sprig of basil arrive on the side.
I was craving pho before trying this burger—must have been that ice storm—and, to be honest, I still am. This is a very different eating experience. The burger patty, relatively thin but not smashed-style, is the weak link on the plate; it’s there to make this meal qualify for the “burger” name. I wouldn’t have minded a few jalapeño slices on the side, for me to sneak in under the bun.
But the bun is toasted and all the pho-styled toppings are scrumptious. They’ve done it again. No food format is safe from Cris and John, the restaurant that proves that culinary “fusion” is only a bad thing if you do it badly.