Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pho Saigon

99% of the time when I want pho, I go to Pho Bac on Broadway, because it's one of the few types of non-American food that I can ride my bike to rather than having to drive out to south sac. Last night I was craving Vietnamese food and finally made it out to Pho Saigon, which in the endless discussions on yelp about best pho seems to reign supreme. You guys probably already know this, but it has killer pho. Right away I noticed that the broth was really aromatic, and it was bright tasting and had a strong star anise flavor. There were lots of chopped green onions in the broth, which is a little different from other places and which I liked. I got the rare steak and brisket and the rare steak was great and the brisket was even better. The noodles were a little bit mushy and not the best, but regardless, it is top-notch pho. I ate and ate and felt at that moment that pho was the best soup in the world.

36 comments:

talkaboutcharles said...

Ok, I go to Pho like most of you dudes, but there utter lack of service skills and borderline contempt for the customers has been really getting me down. Were they nice to you last time you went?

charles

beckler said...

I have eaten there one million times and I have not experienced that. What did they do? This is what I expect, and what I get (including at Pho Saigon last night): quickly show me to a table. Put down menus. Come take my order. Bring the food, which usually arrives very quickly. Maybe refill my water, but at Pho Bac the glasses are really big, so I don't often need it. Then, I go up to the front and pay. I don't usually get a smile or small talk, but I don't feel that that's mean or rude. What is your experience there that you interpret as contempt? Is it a problem getting vegetarian stuff, because I don't think that's really the place to get it, and I could see the language barrier creating frustration there. I really want to know, but yes, I'm defensive, because they get slammed on yelp all the time for this and I never see it. Please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Last time I was there I overheard some of the ladies talking about Charles. Let's just say it wasn't that positive.

-miller

talkaboutcharles said...

The last time I went with Christine, they ignored us forever, then came over and gave us the menu, ignored us somemore. The food was OK (we didn't get Pho this time; big mistake) and when I tired to order a desert she seemed noticably irritated.

I went with Jazz last month and it took them like 15 minutes after we where done to give us our check. Jazz had to go track someone down to get it even.

They fact they are not friendly or won't even look me the eye, I can deal with, because when i wait on people thats what I do. But they could try a little harder to do a good job?

I do go there later in the evening. Maybe they hate that and thats why they vibe me out of there?

Charles

ps. I have a friend in the math department named Phonung and she says her favorite Vietnamese place is down on stockton. I forget the name right now. I guess that is not really biking distance

Anonymous said...

Down on Stockton you say? That narrows it down. Pho Bac could benefit from a sign telling you to pay at the counter since that's how they do it there.

-miller

Anonymous said...

My last trip to the Hoa Viet on Broadway was probably the first time I've been bothered with the service, and I've probably been there a million and one times. I think I was just annoyed getting my sody pop after my food came and having to go up front to get a take-away box. I can deal with annoyed sneers from the staff, and I wish that more places had a fraction of their decorum when it comes to chit-chat, but when it comes to my soda pop...
-skpr

beckler said...

Maybe it's Pho Saigon?

I'm surprised they took a while to take your order. They always get to me right away. I don't go there regularly enough to get special treatment, so it's not because they know me. Not giving your check is not rude. Lots of places don't bring you your check. No one will ever think you are rude to just go get your check. I don't require the server to make eye contact or smile to feel satisfied with a restaurant. I don't care if they don't speak one word of English as long as we can get the order sorted. Not that you do, Charles, I'm just sayin'. Try lowering your expectations because some of them are cultural indoctrination. Now it sounds like I'm saying that they're never friendly in Vietnamese restaurants, but I'm not.

Next time if they are slow getting to you, you could try just try brazenly flagging someone down. And if you just order regular pho or bun I guarantee you won't wait for than five minutes, or I will give you your money back.

talkaboutcharles said...

I do like the Pho. And the Avacado shakes.

How do you guys feel Andy Nyguens fairs against Pho Bac?

beckler said...

Perhaps you should read my somewhat recent review of Andy Nugyen in Midtown Monthly. It was positive. However, I hardly ever eat there because they rely too much on sweet sauces instead of herbs and fish sauce.

talkaboutcharles said...

This maybe an odd suggestion, but have you thought about making a website to archive your food reviews? Kind of like a resume kind of thing? Might be kind of neat if you ever want to get more food writing gigs.

Charles

ps. Ok, fine I'll be your business manager. 70/30 sound like a good split?

pps. When can I go look at your bike?

beckler said...

I think midtown monthly is working on that. I don't like to be reminded of past reviews, I am like a shark, always moving forward, always staring at you with my cold, dead eyes.

ha, don't pretend you wanted to come over last night. i was home and you didn't call. call me when you are home and have time to come over.

Anonymous said...

hey you two, get a room!

Anonymous said...

Make sure it's not the record room. It's bad enough when Beckler's mom takes that over twice a year.

-miller

beckler said...

records? do you really listen to those things? wow, a real blast from the past. i should have called you when i got rid of all my old million-selling records from the 70s and 80s!

Anonymous said...

Let me guess - you sold them to the Germans instead?

-miller

beckler said...

i "sold" them to the germans. for "money".

talkaboutcharles said...

sorry about yesterday. Pizzas recorded and I was too bust thinking of all of the delicious puns I was going to make. However, I think I did finally hit rock bottom with the classic alternative rock number "Even-dough".

Charles

ps. Matt K. just texted me with this one:

"Our pizza god is Cheesus"

Anonymous said...

As a band do you accept Cheesus Crust as your personal pizza saviour?

-miller

couchdive said...

I miss you New Paris

:-(

talkaboutcharles said...

"Your own...personal...pizza..."

C'mon!

Charles

Anonymous said...

What?! I got pizza in there!

-miller

beckler said...

WTF happened with New Paris? It's so crazy that it got that mention and picture in Saveur and now it's closed.

smitty said...

Gbomb moved in next to New Paris and they got scared and went home. She's scary as.

beckler said...

That's not New Paris, that's Paris Bakery.

Anonymous said...

I recently saw RE GrasWitch's lame piece on Little Saigon's article in Saveur on TV. He introduced the segment by saying, "Most people only think of South Sac in terms of gang violence and general insanity, but its cuisine has caught the attention of a national publication." Wow, RE, way to marginalize. That really make people want to check out something new man. Nice shirt.

He didn't mention any specifics, just that there was some pretty good Asian food on Stockton Blvd. That's what I get for watching local tv news.

Jed

beckler said...

They mentione New Paris, Vinh Phat, and Pho Bac by name, and there's a really cute picture of the New Paris owner's daughter eating pho.

omg, here's the clip, what an asshole

http://cbs13.com/thescoop/South.sacramento.graswich.2.747247.html

I like that he uses the term "classy" for Saveur. He pronounces it "sa-voh" that's not right, is it?

Anonymous said...

What a yokel! It's pronounced "Sah-vuhrr".

Dani

couchdive said...

New Paris couldn't pay the bills, so it seems. Rumors of a pay or quit lease paperwork being on the door were mentioned on yelp. I went the weekend before it closed and Vinnie saluted me as I left and said it has been on honor. I think he could sense I wanted to ask him if the weeks before short blurb in the bee was correct, and if they were really closing. A few days later the doors were shut for good.

I really haven't had any Vietnamese since they closed. I'm in mourning still. Seriously. hehe

Anonymous said...

pho saigon-grilled chicken over rice with killer spicy dipping sauce-don't miss out! -Ed

M. H. said...

God! That's so obnoxious! I hate how he acts like half of Sacramento doesn't live in South Sac. And what's with saying "Asian food"? That's not specific enough. Why can't he say Vietnamese food? That's what the whole article was about. That bugged me about the sacbee article from the last post too, an annoyance Beth pointed out quite eloquently.

-mh

Anonymous said...

RE Grasshole is a fucking retard. He has never had one ounce of journalistic integrity. He is now tied for first place with that fucking douche Armstrong of Armstrong and Getty as the local media person that I would most want to punch in the face if I ever got the chance. Grasshole has had it in for the fire department for years, for reasons that have never been explained by him, but are rumored to be of an entirely personel nature. He delights in smearing without ever once considering a mention of the good side or a person/organization/race/restaurant. Fuck that guy, sideways.

AFG

Jaz said...

Charles is just not willing to admit that he gets poor service there because the Phine Pholks at Pho Bac don't like dudes that wear a mustache... And it was not 15 minutes... Maybe 8....

And another thing. You think that if you live with a guy he would figure out how to spell your name...

Jaz (with one z)

Count Mockula said...

If you are trying to get veggie at Pho Saigon, you have to go with the Buddha thing (Buddha Delight? Buddha's Garden? Buddha Vegetarian? Whatever).

I used to live about two blocks away (and I was never assaulted or anything!), so we ended up at Pho Saigon pretty often. I love Pho Bac (Buddha something there, too), but last time we went my mom and husband both had near-food-poisoning-level upset tummies after.

talkaboutcharles said...

Let me tell you guys, that after living with Jazzz (catch the extra 'z' for dramatic effect), there really is no such thing a free Jazzz. You pay. Oh man, you pay.

Charles

ps. Anyone interested in a barely used photo enlarger?

josh said...

yeah i'll take the photo enlarger. i can put it next to my exercise belt machine from the 1950's that jiggles your fat away.

Anonymous said...

zing! -Ed