Man, it took me long enough to do a post on this place......I mentioned the opening of Pho Fifth Avenue way back in Apirl of 2010, intending to check the place out, but for some reason I just never made it. Reading Dennis's post on the place made it sound pretty promising, yet I still wasn't able to get my act together until recently.
The shop, now almost two years old looks like a cross between the "old school" and new style Pho shops. The dishes on the menu are listed in Vietnamese, but the descriptions are in English. The set-up is typical Pho shop, but the area is bright, clean, and well lit.
On my first visit, I ordered the Brisket, Flank, Tendon, and Tripe......I'd seen the rare steak come out and it looked like typical beef top round and folks who've read this blog over the years know how I feel about dry and tasteless "Tai". Why bother......
My bowl arrived soon after ordering, the gentleman working here was very nice and pretty friendly.
The broth was low on fat, mildly beefy, not bad overall, except for being too sweet....oddly sweet and being served a little below the temp I consider optimal. I'd also enjoy a bit more anise hints in the soup as well. The noodles were the typical clump, but were decent. As expected the garnishes were farly minimal, I used a good bit of the basil to bump up the anise flavor and a good squeeze of lime to try and balance out the sweetness.
You can really tell how the restaurant deals with perceived restaurant demographics with the ratio of different cuts of meat. There was a good amount of lean flank, a decent amount of brisket, I fished out one piece of tendon, a bit more chewy than I prefer, and one very tiny strand of tripe, which I had to work to find.
Overall, not a bad bowl andI did see something after I placed my order that I wanted to try, so I returned a week later....to have Filet Mignon Pho. Not cheap at $9.25 for a small and $11.25 for a large, but I really appreciate a decent bowl of Pho Filet Mignon.
Based on my previous experience with the broth temperature, I had some reservations, but this time it arrived super steaming hot. Perfect for doing a quick dunk of the precious morsels of beef.
The Pho Filet Mignon here arrives with no other protein in the broth, which was still bit on the sweet side, though not as bad as my previous visit.
I was surprised at the amount of beef tenderloin(I ordered a small), cut a bit thinner than what I consider the norm to be. It started falling apart as I moved it from the plate to the broth for a quick dunk.
I did find the amount of noodles this time around to be on the mushy side and the portion sized towards small. In fact, two hours after eating this my stomach started to growl.
Still, it was better than what I last had at Mignon Pho + Grill, though I haven't been back in a while and Howie and Jenne told me the Pho has gotten better there. So I guess I need to head back there soon.
Pho Fifth Avenue
3807 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
Mon-Thurs 10 am - 10 pm
Fri-Sat 10 am - 11 pm
Sun 10 am - 10 pm