Pho 77

Penny wrote:

Pho 777. Frankly, Viet Cafe (which is now closed and replaced with that Banana Leaf Pasta place) was better, but hopefully Pho 777 will get better in time. They are taking 20% off your bill until November 30, 2008 in honor of their Grand Opening.

Food: Hit and miss. The crispy spring rolls were very good. Something inside tasted super yummy and made me feel like I needed “just one more bite.” I think they have roasted peanuts wrapped up with the vermicelli noodles, meat, veggies, etc. to make it a stand out dish. The dipping sauce was also good (not too fishy).
I ordered the Pho (#11, large) with slices of rare steak and beef brisket ($8.25). They asked if I wanted my rare steak on the side or inside my soup (which was cool, because it can get overly cooked when placed in the soup too early). The immediate smell was cinnamon, then some herbacious notes. It was tasty, but no real depth/complexity of flavor. Like there was no “mother” broth that this came from. It tasted good when I just drank the broth, but when I ate it with the noodles or beef, it became bland. I saw a guy add a ton of salt into it, but I didn’t want to do that…added sirracha and sambal instead.
The short ribs were unavailable (too early?), so my mom ordered #55: Steamed rice with garlic pork and shrimp ($10.50). Tasty enough and the 4 or 5 shrimp were good, but the pork was really dry and overcooked. You sure get a whole lot of rice, though.

Service: Our waitress was really nice, but inexperienced. She did not know the menu well, but really sweet. Water did not come around often, and it tasted a bit weird so I added fresh mint and a lime wedge to my glass and it was no problem. All cutlery, napkins and condiments are stacked on each table so you can help yourself.

Ambiance: Oddly elegant and casual combo. I think the restaurant looked more elegant than the people inside it. Table cloths, roomy booths, etc. Everyone inside in shorts or jeans (including restaurant staff).

Overall: Too expensive (tho’ I’m sure it’s because rent is high) to keep going unless the food quality goes up a notch or two. There are definitely places with the same or better food that charge a few bucks less per dish. But the people there seem so nice I hope the place becomes a success.

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