A branch of the Pleasant Hill restaurant opened in Vallejo last Saturday in the redeveloped shopping center anchored by Seafood City supermarket. I had a chance to stop by this week.
The colorful pictures of the food displayed overhead look great. However, the pho bo (beef noodle soup) is the absolute worst that Ive ever come across. Reeking of too much star anise, the first sip of the deeply colored broth stings the tongue with salt and MSG and finishes with a woody bitterness and cloying sweetness. Picking through the soup noodles to see what else might be retrievable from the murky depths, the fatty brisket tasted old and musty, the tendon was still tough, and the rare beef had a silvery chemically-induced sheen.
Yet, as reported for the original, the shakes are made from real fruit, fresh or frozen depending on the season. The mango shake was great, and the chewy boba (tapioca pearl) were firm and retained the taste of tapioca. Also, I got a free can of Coke as an opening week special.
The pho bo was so horrid, Im leery of trying anything else besides the drinks. But, I am intrigued by the fried shrimp cakes offered as an appetizer or in rice plates and bun any comments?
Pho Hoa Phat II
3495 Sonoma Blvd., Suite H
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