Yes, the name of this place is Saigon Bliss, go figure. A couple of friends who live in Serra Mesa really like this place, so I decided to give it a try. If I recall, this used to be Kinkos....I think. This strip mall sure has changed over the years.....
Much like Pho Kitchen and other shops, the décor is what I call "modern pho".....bright colors, clean, and a few enlarged photos of Vietnam and pretty girls to create a sort of nostalgic connection.
The young man who runs the front of house is really, really, nice....though he really doesn't need to call me "sir" every time he speaks to me.
The ratios were off in the spring roll, the pork sausage wasn't grilled enough and while I admire the place giving you a hefty slice, it made the texture lean to the rubbery side. There was a single sliver of fried egg roll wrapper in this, not enough to make much of a difference. The sauce was really thin, too sweet, and lacking in that subtle savory flavor that makes so many folks enjoy Brodards.
I also got some pho; just the regular "combination" ($8.50).
Over the years, I've notice the typical "San Diego pho" broth has changed. It used to be pretty heavy on the msg......now it's typical to have the broth severely defatted, taking away the richness, with a flavor that's noticeably on the sweet side. This fits that bill.
The tripe was the best protein, nice crunch, no off flavors, not much tendon in this, the rare steak was on the dry side, and I'm not a big fan of overly squeaky beef balls. And the amount was on the scarce side.
The noodles were adequately prepared; though it was clump city all the way.
Still, the folks here seemed to be trying hard. And so.....I returned of course. But I really wasn't sure what to order. The young man told me that the Bo Kho was his grandmother's recipe.
Sadly, there was no tendon to be found; but the chunks of beef were tender and there were no off flavors.
The bread was light, warm, and standard issue stuff.
If you don't like a rich bowl of bo kho and hate beef tendon, you might like this. Sort of bo kho not to offend. Not terrible though and the best thing I've had here.
With this under my belt....no pun intended; I decided that perhaps a third time might be a charm and the young man had told me to try the Bo Luc Lac ($13.95).
Man, look at all those onions! I mean, I understand they need to stretch the dish and such, but golly. The beef was on the tough side and too salty for my taste. The sauce provided was sort of Muoi Tieu Chanh, but it tasted strange....perhaps using bottled lemon juice. The butter rice, colored with what seems to be annatto was moist, tender, and the flavor not too bad. I think it was the best thing about the dish as the bo luc lac seemed like something one would throw together at home, it lacked finesse.
Still, the service here is really nice. I heard that they really take care of military and veterans here. It's a decent neighborhood pho shop and I actually think it's better than some of the places around Convoy and Kearny Mesa. So I hope they do well.
Pho SaiGon Bliss
3755 Murphy Canyon Rd
San Diego, CA 92123
Mon - Sat 10am - 9pm
Sunday 1030am - 8pm
This strip mall right off Aero Drive has always been a bit of an "odd duck" to me. It still holds a Sizzler and I think the taco shop might be the only business that's been around for a while. I remember back in the early 2000's the cook at the Chinese Restaurant in the mall was from Hawaii and on weekends they'd serve stuff like loco mocos and other stuff. Man, that seems like so long ago now.