Ok, so it's in the 90's for a couple of days, then we get the wind and the rain...yikes. Well, at least it makes for some good pho weather. So here are a couple of places I hadn't posted on before.
The Pho Shop:
A couple of weeks ago AlanH sent me an email wondering about The Pho Shop. I guess he'd read through my pho posts and had noticed that I had never been there. He also mentioned that he was curious about the place because Trey Foshee had mentioned that it was his pho shop. There is of course a difference between "favorite" and best, etc, etc, etc. With all due respect, while I really do enjoy his work at George's at the Cove, when it comes to recommendations for pho, his is not the first name that comes to mind.
Still, in order to do my "pho-diligence", I put it on my list of places to try and with the sudden vturn of the weather, pho seemed like a good thing so I headed down Sports Arena and found the shop on the other side of the massive "Phil's nation".
The place is bright and clean offering local brews on tap.
The young man who served me was very nice, there's no hovering over you waiting for you to order. Unfortunately, the first thing that came to mind was Mignon Pho + Grill, a place that's does everything nice except most of the food. There were an interesting number of warning signs, stuff like, here it's not nuoc mam cham, here they call it "fish vinaigrette".....
I don't know why they left out the "sauce" portion...it really reads as carrot & fish vinaigrette.
So I just had to get me some of that, right?
That's pretty much where it ends. The nuoc mam cham was terribly watered (and dumbed down) to the point that it had some spice, but barely any savory fish sauce or sweet tones. Blech.
The eggrolls themselves was mostly filler with almost no flavor at all.
Nice first impression, no follow-thru. And not particularly good for $3.95.
This left me wondering what the Pho Dac Biet($6.75) was going to be like.
Actually, this was a decent bowl of pho. It wouldn't be on my top 5 list, but if it was in Clairemont it might be on the top of the heap.
Since my FOY (friend of yoso) Jenne always kids me about being, so, well, picky is the right word I guess, let's start with the good. I thought the meat prep was good...even that which I usually get down on, the slices of rare "Tai", which is the usual eye of round was decent. It might be worthwhile to get that on the side. The flank cuts were the best, just tender enough without falling apart, with a nice beefy flavor.
Nice amount of tripe, which was tasteless, but had a good crunch.....there were only a few tiny pieces of tendon though.
The noodles were on the overcooked-mushy side. The broth had a mild onion-sweetness to it, not as pronounced as the version at Pho Fifth Avenue, which I think is a bit better than this, having a bit more beefy "umph" and fat.
So while the pho here is not in the class of Lucky, Cow Cali, Pho Hoa, even Pho Hiep or Ca Dao, it's not bad. The place does more of a "pho not to offend" version, but it wasn't bad. Friendly service, clean, well lit, lots of parking.....if all that is more important than getting a top notch bowl of pho, then this is your place. Or heck, if you're a sriracha and hoisin "pho-natic" then it really doesn't matter anyway, does it?
The Pho Shop
3760 Sports Arena Blvd
San Diego, CA 92110
Mon-Fri 11am - 10pm
Sat 10am - 10pm
Sun 10am - 9pm
Pho Point Loma:
I'd been meaning to try Pho Point Loma for a while but had really put the place on the back-burner after Dennis told me about having a pretty mediocre bowl of pho there. Still, I was on my way home from my usual Sunday visit to the San Diego Farmer's Market and I decided to stop by for an early lunch.
While clean and bright in its own right, this seemed like a more traditional pho shop to me....all business and rather spartan looking. What that POS system is doing as you walk in the front door, I'll never know.
After looking over at the bowls of pho on other tables I made my decision to go with a "small" #3 - well-done steak, flank, brisket, tripe, and tendon ($5.95).
The broth here reminded me of Pho T Cali and not in a good way. It was salty, but lacked much of anything else.
The tendon was decently tender as was brisket, which really lacked flavor. The flank was tough and the well done steak was both tough and dry.
The noodles, found in the usual clump on the bottom of the bowl was prepped well.
But that's not enough to have me return for the pho.
Pho Point Loma & Grill Restaurant
2788 Midway Dr
San Diego, CA 92110
Open Daily 930am - 930pm