I mentioned this revolving door of a location back in March. It had been Van Hoa for over a decade and Cathy and I had done mulitple posts on the place. And then overnight, they were gone; first replaced by Pho & Banh Cuon Ha Long Restaurant, which was gone in a few months, to be replaced by "Pho Huong Viet"....I saw a sign go up, but don't think the place actually opened. And now, it's Pho 87.
The name sounded familiar. After doing a quick search, I found there's a Pho 87 in LA Chinatown and Las Vegas. So perhaps?
As for this location, they've moved some things around and the place looks even more odd than before. Big gaps between tables and front register with one table on each side....at least you can't complain about things being crowded together, right?
I'm not sure what it is, but I really didn't feel comfortable eating here....and I've eaten in some pretty strange places over the years!
The menu is very straight forward; spring rolls, egg rolls, rice, hieu tieu, bun....and pho of course. Just about all the combinations had rare steak, no combination featuring both tendon and tripe, though I'm sure I could have asked....but why be a pain in a place I'd never been to before?
So, I went with the combination; in these days, $6.50 for a small bowl of pho is cheap these days. Soon enough, my basil, sprouts, and lime arrived.
At first glance, this looked fairly sparse and the sprouts were starting to brown. Then I noticed something and turned the basil over.
This was definitely not going to be used.
My bowl arrived soon after.
The broth looked low in fat; which it was, and had quite a bit of onions. And in fact, the broth had a strong, rather pungent onion flavor...not overly sweet as many bowls seem to be these days; but somewhat on the bitter side. It was scalding hot though. As for the meats; well, the tendon was decent, a bit on the hard side but not bad. The rare steak was far from "rare" by the time the bowl hit the table and it looked like beef that had scum on it that congeals when cooked; not the most appetizing looking thing. I hesitated in trying it; but as is not the norm, it was pretty tender and not dried out. It did have a bit of a metallic taste to it though.
The noodles were in a giant clump in the bottom and terribly overcooked and mushy. The worst I've had in a while.
The young man serving me was very nice as was the young lady.....but I really didn't think I'd be back or even do a post on this place.
However, a few weeks later, I went to check out a new restaurant in the area, but it was closed. After pondering my options, I recalled seeing an interesting fried rice dish as I left Pho 87. I asked the young man what it was. He told me Bo Luc Lac Fried Rice. So, I decided to give it another go.
And got the Com Chien Bo Luc Lac; a bargain at $8.95.
That's a good portion of beef for the price. The beef was surprisingly tender, though very salty and lacking in any sweet or even sour tones....very one dimensional as a whole. The stir fried vegetables looked nice, but were too raw, and not stir-fried properly. The fried rice was somewhat old school; the rice nicely separated. I didn't expect much and got just that, with the peas and carrots from the frozen food isle. The fried rice was also quite salty and I ended up chugging a good amount of water after I got home.
So what to say about Pho 87? Well, it's very inexpensive. Do you get what you pay for? Perhaps. The folks here are on the quite side but nice enough. Me, well, I think I need to move on.
Pho 87 Noodle House
4016 54th St
San Diego, CA 92105
Mon - Sat 8am - 8pm