I've gone to both the Pearl district Pho Van and the 82nd original restaurant Pho Van a couple times each in the last month. I've learned, I think, that the one on the eastside just isn't as good as the Pearl district location. The menu at the Pearl district location seems to be much more interesting and I think they execute their broths better there as well. So, if you've written off Pho Van based on the 82nd location, but haven't tried the Pearl location, I'd like to suggest you give the newer location a try. I think it earns its extra expense. The 82nd location is a nicer pho house than what you usually get, but except for the banana bread pudding, I don't know that there's that much that separates it from the crowd.
One question, too, is there another Vietnamese place besides the Pearl district Pho Van that's pretty good, maybe better, and doesn't focus as much on Pho as it does other dishes, like claypot offerings, interesting salads, and grilled offerings? I like Vietnamese foods, but I think its these rather than Pho that I like about the cuisine. (I love both the lotus and the banana blossom salads at Pho Van even if they are a bit expensive for their size.)