Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lunch #56: Pho Hoa

Pho Hoa Al...most...there. Eight intrepid MSG150 luncher headed out today for the next spot on the ever shortening MSG150 route. Today our target was Pho Hoa, a Vietnamese noodle soup franchise restaurant.

Pho Hoa, Seattle
Address: 618 S Weller St, Seattle, WA, 98104
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Average rating: 2.9 chopsticks
Lunch date: 5/27/2008 @ 12:05:00
Time taken to be seated: 0 minutes
Time to take order: 1 minutes
Time for food to arrive: 10 minutes
Total lengh of meal: 46 minutes
Chopstix quality: Cheap Plastic
Do they use MSG?: Yes
Where is the owner/chef from?: Franchised
Number of tables: 16
Number of occupied tables: 15 (93%)
Number of business lunch tables: 8 (53%)
Number of "local" tables: 2 (13%)
Healthcode Score: 5
Links: Yelp!, Urbanspoon
Pho Hoa

Luncher: Geary

Lunch Combo #3: Bun Tom Thit Nuong with Fresh Spring RollLunch: Lunch Combo #3: Bun Tom Thit Nuong with Fresh Spring Roll - $8.87
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Geary's Review

My first Pho experience as a young lad was at Pho Hoa in Redmond. Because of that, I have a soft place in my heart for Pho Hoa. Since then, however, I have discovered numerous better, non-franchise, choices. Pho Hoa an odd little franchise, with fifty or so restaurants scattered around the world from Oklahoma to Dubai. I'm not sure I see the benefit of buying a franchise Pho Hoa rather than just opening your own spot. Especially in some place like Oklahoma. There's no reputation or advertising that would somehow make Pho Hoa stand out from Pho Geary. I'm sure I could create my own sign and laminated menus for less than the franchise fee. My menus would even have the item numbers in (get this) numerical order.

I ordered Bun noodles today since I had most recently had Bun at Pho Bac and thought it would be a fresh comparison. I ordered #25, Pork and Shrimp, but was served #32, Pork and Egg Roll. Close. I ordered the Bun as part of combo #3 which included a Fresh Roll (or Fried Roll) and drink. The Bun was passable but certainly a couple of chopsticks below Pho Bac's. The meat was not nearly as good and of much lesser quality. There was no fresh basil and the sauce just wasn't as fresh and tangy. The Fresh Roll was fine and had a tasty hoisin like dipping sauce that was improved with a couple of squirts of Sriracha.

After lunch Michael, Adam, and I we went next door and bought some cookies at a bakery named "Cake House, My Favorite". Michael insisted that we would have to change our name to MSG149 if we didn't.

Luncher: Adam

#15 - Pho Ta Nam Gau Gan SachLunch: #15 - Pho Ta Nam Gau Gan Sach - $5.40
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Adam's Review

Do you like noodles? Do you like salt? Do you like mostly flavorless broth? Pho Hoa is your best bet in Seattle's Chinatown.

I actually can't believe that they're franchising pho. I really never expected to see tripe and tendon on a franchised menu, but there it lies on the laminated corporate collateral. Even worse, I didn't ever think I'd order it off of a franchised menu. This is flavorless tripe in a flavorless soup. mmmm.

Really, just skip this place. Walk over to Pho Bac.

Luncher: Emmett

#31 - Bun Ga NuongLunch: #31 - Bun Ga Nuong - $6.31
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Emmett's Review

"The McDonald's of Pho." is what I've heard about Pho Hoa. I didn't really think anything of it. How bad could it be?

We arrived at the noon hour to a relatively full restaurant. The menu is what you'd expect - lots of Pho in all it's infinite variations, some spring rolls, vermicelli dishes, and rice. I went for the Chicken and Vermicelli, also known as the Bún Gà Nướng (how do you like them crazy letter mods?). It was good -- very similar to what you get at Pho Bac. It was fresh, tasty, and the chicken was well cooked with a nice flavor.

They bill themselves as a "Health Conscious Choice." Not a bad claim, given that it's hard to deep fry soup, though I have no freaking idea how much Sodium is in this stuff. My guess is a decent amount. Regardless, I wouldn't hesitate to come back if I wanted Pho and it was nearby, but with many decent options nearby for Vietnamese, I wouldn't come here first. Pho Back and Saigon Bistro offer slightly better fare and better atmosphere for the same price.

Luncher: Tyan

#18 - Pho GaLunch: #18 - Pho Ga - $5.40
Rating: 2 Chopsticks

Tyan's Review

For a Pho restaurant this place was not my favorite. The food I had wasn’t too great and the service was terrible. I ordered Chicken Pho and was unimpressed. The chicken had a lot of gristle, the broth was too salty, and they forgot the onions. The broth did have a lot of flavor, though, which is unusual for chicken Pho. They messed up several orders other than mine, and forgot one order completely. We never got refills on our water and the server never came back to check up on us. Overall I’d say for Pho you could do better. But if you like salty broth this would be a good place to try.

Luncher: Al

#40 - Pho Chin NamLunch: #40 - Pho Chin Nam - $5.40
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Al's Review

Return to Pho Hoa? No wa(y). Rather go back to Pho Bac.

Luncher: Jared

#2 - Pho Tai Chin NaeLunch: #2 - Pho Tai Chin Nae - $5.40
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Luncher: Anthea

Lunch: Pho Khong Da - $5.40
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Anthea's Review

Soup is salty and lacks flavour.

Could be a little more generous with the meat. You can count the few pathetic pieces swimming in the salty soup.

But their noodles are cooked to the right tenderness, so at least that is not too bad. But I will definitely give a 3.0 if the soup is not so salty.

Luncher: Michael

Lunch: Lunch Combo #3: Bun Ga Nuong with Fresh Roll - $8.87
Rating: 3 Chopsticks

Michael's Review

'Lunch Combo Number 3'. That made me laugh. Maybe they can supersize it?

This is the fast food of Pho. Nothing wrong with that. But that ultimate American invention of the 'combo meal' is just not what you are looking for when you trek over to the ID for lunch. If you want quick and fast and cheap head for the food court. It's lots more fun, faster, and cheaper. This place wasn't bad. But there is so much better within a few blocks that I can't ever see going back.

There is a Pho Hoa over in Bremerton. It rocks. I'll eat there again and again. But that's cause it's the *only* Pho place in the entire city. I have no choice. In the ID you have sooo many better choices - take adavantage of them and skip the combo meals.

Pho Hoa Photos

Pho Hoa
Pho Hoa

Pho Hoa Entry
Pho Hoa Entry

Top 400!?
Top 400!?

#18 - Pho Ga
#18 - Pho Ga

#15 - Pho Ta Nam Gau Gan Sach
#15 - Pho Ta Nam Gau Gan Sach

#40 - Pho Chin Nam
#40 - Pho Chin Nam

#2 - Pho Tai Chin Nae
#2 - Pho Tai Chin Nae

Bun Tom Thit Nuong
Bun Tom Thit Nuong

#31 - Bun Ga Nuong
#31 - Bun Ga Nuong

Fresh Roll
Fresh Roll

Pho Hoa Menu
Pho Hoa Menu

Bakery Next Door: Cake House, My Favorite
Bakery Next Door: Cake House, My Favorite

Inadvertent Self Portrait
Inadvertent Self Portrait

Cakes
Cakes

Cookies, etc.
Cookies, etc.

Cake & Cookie
Cake & Cookie

Pastry
Pastry

1 comment:

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