“Did you say exercise or extra rice?”
That’s what a sign on the wall says, anyway. If your answer leans more toward the latter, Alley Noodle Bar might merit a spot on your must-try list. The menu here abounds with options for fans of Vietnamese food. Whether you’re seeking a spicy plate of Vietnamese wings or a warm bowl of pho, you’ll find just about everything here … well, except exercise maybe.
Start your meal with an order of the It's Dynamite tofu ($7.99), which comes with eight soft blocks of breaded tofu, lightly fried on the outside. Also try the Vietnamese popcorn chicken ($6.99), a plate of thighs that are battered and deep-fried. Both fried dishes are served with a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce on the side to add a kick of flavor. Appetizer portions here are small, so you may need to order two or three to fill yourself up.
The main entree menu is self-explanatory, with one section for pho and one for other noodle dishes. Pho bowls start upward of $14.99, and offer either pork, chicken or mushroom broth. If you’re a meat lover, go for the “PHO Me Up,” a chef-specialty dish that comes with a combination of brisket, rare steak and short-rib cubes cooked in a flavorful pork broth. For something lighter, you can try the unPHOgettable, a chicken-based dish that comes with flat rice and chicken breast soaked in a warm chicken broth. Whatever you order, ask for a side of hoisin and sriracha sauce to spice up your bowl. You might need it.
It’s likely that you’ll find yourself full after the main entree, as portions here are generous. If you have a hankering (and room) for something sweet, try Alley Noodle Bar’s coconut ice cream dessert ($6.99), which comes with two small scoops of vanilla ice cream studded with chunks of tender coconut. It’s finished off with dried coconut flakes to give it a nice crunch.
“I have a lot of memories going back to Vietnam and tasting all the dishes there,” owner Tuan Tran says. “We really just wanted to bring a fun and memorable Vietnamese fusion menu here to McKinney.”
He’s delivering on his mission. Just take the extra rice and save the exercise for later.
Alley Noodle Bar, 7701 Stacy Road, Suite 700, McKinnney. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday – Tuesday and Thursday – Sunday; closed Wednesday.