This is a two part post. I'd love to hear some recent Pho and Vietnamese reviews especially in the Chinatown/Russian Hill areas of town, but anywhere would be welcome. We live really close to Chinatown but have had little luck finding restaurants that are palatable. And on that note the second part is less fun.
We went to Golden King the other day for Pho, my s/o was sick and that's all he seemed to be able to handle (and tea). The first pot of tea they brought was stone cold. We ordered Pho, a shredded chicken salad, and he ordered fresh rolls too, on some non-soup wim. The Pho was ok (I'm not going to get too much into food descriptions under the circumstances) except like the last time we were there, they didn't bring the sprouts/basil/and lemon? until we asked. Last time they acted like they forgot to bring it. This time they acted like it was a pain in the neck to bring, although they quickly fetched the pre-made plate from the fridge. The sprouts were so brown and limp that they were unsuitable for use.
The chicken salad was ok, its hard to go wrong but it wasn't the best. We each tried the rolls when they came after the soup and salad. The shrimp in the rolls, unfortunately, was bad. Not just a little off, but bitter, ammonia smelling, rancid slimy shrimp. This was a conclusion we came to independently, me after one bite, him after three.
We didn't eat them and they didn't inquire how they were. After we ate our meal we went up to get take out boxes since they hadn't been back to the table, and I decided to let them know that the shrimp were bad at the same time. The only customers in the place were at the three tables around us so I thought it would be easier to go up front, out of earshot of the other customers and delicately let them know that the shrimp were not good. So that's what I did.
Whereupon the owner insisted that the shrimp were fresh and started unrolling the fresh rolls, plucking the shrimp out of them, and eating them. See, he said? Fresh, very fresh. And on and on he went insisting that since he was eating them, I had a problem.
I was a chef in a restaurant and catered on the east coast for 15 years. I know fresh seafood ( we used to get our fish from the boats that docked around the corner - but not shrimp), and I know not fresh, bad, and rotten seafood. This was bad/rotten. I was appalled, still quietly though, b'c I didn't want to create a scene. It finally got completely ridiculous when he pulled yet another piece of rotten shrimp out of the not fresh roll, and offered it to me in the palm of his outstretched hand. My stomach churned. At that point the waitress was completely grossed out too and I just walked away.
So I hate to write this report, b'c I really liked this place. But since you all steered me here a couple of years ago I guess I should. On so many counts, needless to say, I would never go back, but most of all, why quibble with an established customer over rotten $5.00 fresh rolls? They don't deserve the business.