I went with 3 others to the Chinatown Pho Pasteur tonight. It was good, but nothing spectacular. Ya'all were right, there's not a HUGE difference between Pho Pasteur and Pho 2000, but Pho 2000 was just a bit cozier, friendlier, more authentic-feeling, and perhaps tastier. However I can't exactly comment on the tastier part because I had different things at the two places.
We shared fresh spring rolls with shrimp. Fine. Good peanut/hoisin dipping sauce.
One friend had tofu with pineapple and tomato, which looked pretty tasty and was a generous serving. Another had seafood noodle soup. Looked fine. My girlfriend had a curry soup with tofu that was very good and spicy. Large pieces of tofu and vegetables (like snowpeas) were very tasty, I enjoyed hers more than I enjoyed mine.
I had the bamboo shoot chicken soup, which was a bit odd and I don't know why. The bamboo shoots were bigger and different than at chinese places, I had never had them like that before, maybe they were fresh? I liked them. There was a LOT of chicken in it....kinda dull, I prefer beef pho which I will stick to next time. But the weird thing was that some of the bits of basil and cilantro tasted like soap to me. I am not allergic to cilantro and usually it does not taste like soap to me (although for some people who are allergic it does), so this was very strange. I made my girlfriend taste some leaves and she also thought it tasted soapy. Meanwhile, there was tons of cilantro in her soup and neither of us had a problem at all. I also eat Vietnamese food quite regularly and have hardly ever had this problem, although I think I have a few times, just not anyime recently. But my soup definitely had an odd taste which made me enjoy it less.
My gf had a mango juice that looked good and I had a limeade (without salt) that was fresh and very good.
I think Pho 2000 is better (though it's hard to pinpoint why, maybe just general feeling), but when in Chinatown, this is a good choice.