A common first reaction to the name of the fairly new Vietnamese joint in Hanover seems to be "they named it that on purpose?" Pho plus subs equals Phubs. Get it? Its menu boasts of fresh, all local, free-range ingredients, with the dishes that the name implies: pho, subs, and only a few other items. But what Phubs does, it does really well. We ordered a BBQ pork banh mi ($7.39) and a regular bowl of veggie pho ($6.99). To satisfy our thirst, we ordered a Clementine Izze ($2.79) and a Jailbreak Scoville Jalapeño beer ($4.50)—yay liquor license!
One of our beefs (pun semi-intended) with several local purveyors of banh mi is that they don't use French bread. Banh mi means bread and more specifically refers to the single-serving baguettes associated with the sandwich. Here, they get it. Phubs' baguettes are perfectly crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, beautifully complementing the uniquely spiced, barbecued pork on the inside. The hints of cardamom and star anise paired well with the vinegar-y pickled daikon, carrot, and cucumber. We appreciate the attention given to every detail here.
The pho broth was similarly spiced and had a depth of flavor that could not possibly be achieved with bouillon cubes. This is the real deal. The soup was a veritable garden, filled with bok choy, napa, celery, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, and tofu with the interesting addition of tomatoes. Instead of the usual side bowl of accoutrements, Phubs has a fixins bar where you can accessorize your soup. Here we found that the freshness of its jalepeños was almost tragic. Our 11-year-old companion popped a slice into his mouth. Normally a jalapeño wouldn't have such a kick, but these definitely did. After several glasses of water he replied with a gasp, "I thought I was going to die!" We were more careful with them after that. We only added a dash of Sriracha, basil, and bean sprouts to make the soup even more flavorful, and leaning over the bowl to take in the fragrant broth and basil was a joyous experience. We were very pleased with our experience here, even if the name may seem a little silly.