Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Rockville to hunt down Pho 75. It is "up the Pike" as we were told. In a mini-strip mall with no real parking, we waited patiently for someone to leave (with several other potential patrons). We did notice people parking across the street or who knows were, walking towards the restuarant. Hmmmm.... Could it be that good?
We walked in to a packed house and waited patiently for someone to seat us. Two ladies (and I use the term loosely) walked in, walked in front of us and when the waiter came up they proceeded to announce they were next. If he hadn't also acknowledged us, I was tempted to get loud. But I didn't.
The communal seating was interesting, long tables with a rack holding a dozen or more soup spoons and chopsticks. Most people I watched, simply grabbed their utensils and went to work on their pho. The more skittish (and interestingly enough non-asian), used napkins to wipe their utensils down before using them. I sadly had to ask for a fork (I still can't handle chopsticks).
We ordered, our meals arrived promptly, and tasted exactly like the pho we've had at An Loi in Columbia if a tad saltier. I also wonder if they use MSG in their Pho. Does anyone know?
We ate and watched the coming and goings. Turnover is amazing here. A table didn't stay clear for more than a few minutes. The cleaning cart patrolled up and down the aisles ready to wish away dirty dishes as soon as a diner stood up. Paying was a hoot. I never saw anyone get a check. Like those we watched, we walked over to the counter and the hostess simply peaked over to were we sat and I watched in amazement as she tallied our order to a T.
Overall impression: OK but not worth the drive (sorry folks). The food is good but not outstanding. There is no atmosphere to speak of. It wasn't a "fun" experience. Maybe that's not the idea in this place. I'll stick with An Loi where everyone seems happy to see me, the food is truly good, and I feel relaxed instead of rushed.
Just my $0.02.