A previous thread on the new Pho hoa in Chinatown seemed to conclude that it wasn't there. It's right on the main street that leads to the gate (Beech?) a few doors down from Tu Do (which a Vietnamese friend has warned me against). You can't miss it (sorry, I'm very bad with street names).
We walked past last night and the huge dining area was packed with Vietnamese customers, so we took that as a good sign and went in. In summary: friendly service, good but not spectacular food, no problem sitting as long as you like, cheap, functional decor. I still prefer Pho 2000 in Dorchester.
My friends enjoyed the seafood pho (#44) mainly because it's loaded with crisp fresh veggies, but I found the broth bland and the seafood skimpy (mostly fish cake). Nearly everyone at the other tables was dining on pho and spring rolls, although the menu is so huge it has a table of contents.
Shrimp spring rolls were lovely.
Vietnamese pan cake with pork and shrimp was sweet and crispy. Very yummy but not for the health concious as it's quite oily (in a good way).
The shrimp cake with sugar cane vermicelli bowl was my favorite. The sweet cane with the savory shrimp, crispy pickled veggies, soft noodles, and mint is an outstanding flavor combination. I haven't tried this at other restaurants though so it could be better elsewhere.
One out-of-towner in our party who is quite familiar with pho decided to try something "new" and got the salmon rice plate. It was a very disappointing western-style dinner with a dry, tough salmon filet, a glop of rice, and a side salad.
As for drinks: I recommend the creamy jack fruit shake. The fresh lemon soda is very sweet. Salty plum drink is both salty and sweet, reminiscent of Chinese plum candy, and an acquired taste.
We came out with big tip, drinks, and 3 apps at $14 per person.
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