The free-range chicken pho at Hai Ky Mi Gia is excellent, and often overshadowed by the restaurant's duck leg noodle soup or the pho ga of nearby Turtle Tower. johnrsf, a former Turtle Tower fan, says he's been converted: "It was perfection in a bowl!"
That bowl held plenty of chicken and egg noodles (which johnr had ordered instead of rice noodles) in a broth that was "full of chicken flavor balanced by the sweetness of onions and just the right amount of salt." The noodles were "deliciously eggy" and had a nice spring; the chicken breast meat was "just barely cooked, full of fresh chicken flavor." But "the most amazing revelation came from the few pieces of dark meat in the bowl, where the real flavor of free range chicken came through." You can get all dark meat on request.
"My partner and I consumed our bowls of soup noodles in reverential near silence, except for the sound of slurping noodles," says johnr, who plans to take his mother there on her next visit. As a Jewish mom, she considers herself an expert on chicken soup. "She may not agree that it's better than her own, but since she doesn't read CHOW, I can tell you that it is."
Hai Ky Mi Gia [Tenderloin]
707 Ellis Street, San Francisco