Imagine my surprise. I never eat in Montrose anymore, so I walk down Honolulu and see Asian bistro... fancy wine-and-cheeseria... pho shop... Zeke's Sm...wait, what? Back up a bit. Since when are there Vietnamese people in the Foothills?
There aren't. But there are Koreans... and Pho 21 is a Korean-owned pho shop.
It's not bad pho. A little too much MSG, not enough cilantro. Good broth, but the table salad was miserable -- good lime, OK hot peppers, but one measly tiny four-leafed sprig of basil, no cilantro or ngo gai, and limp, soggy sprouts. Noodles were appropriately cooked and the "knot" came apart easily enough. The tai (beef that goes in raw) was very good, the brisket was fatty enough. I don't eat tendons or tripe so can't comment.
The egg rolls -- horrible. Not cha gio/nem ran at all, these were the usual Chinese-American abominations. Two for $3. Not even filled up. With the tiniest possible leaf of lettuce for wrapping, no herbs, but excellent nuoc cham.
The bun looked tasty, though you're limited to beef, pork or chicken, and the lettuce is shredded like cole slaw.
Pho was $6.75 for a small bowl (which is plenty large enough for lunch, trust me). They advertise banh mi (with grilled beef, grilled pork or grilled chicken) for $3.50. I haven't tried them yet... but I guarantee they're the only banh mi for miles in any direction.
In short, on Bolsa or Brookhurst it would be closed in ten days flat, but for Montrose it's not bad at all, and, well, the next pho places I know of are in the SGV and in North Hollywood.
They appear, by the way, to be a sister restaurant to the restaurant of the same name in Buena Park, another Korean stronghold.
2230 Honolulu Ave, Montrose, CA 91020