I noticed the "Grand Opening" sign out in front of Pho Sapa on Kyrene at Elliot and decided to drop in Friday night to pick up a couple of entrees for dinner. Business was brisk; the restaurant was probably 40% full when I walked in and continued to get more crowded, reaching about 80% full in about half an hour. I was happy because I live in the area and am always excited about new dinner options and I want this place to do well.
I ordered a couple of standard entrees and some rice-paper rolls along with a beer to sip as I waited for my food. The place was clean and well lit, with an interesting ceiling and a gurgling water feature. The food coming out of the kitchen smelled great and the customers seemed happy. At this point, I had no reason to believe that this wouldn't be a great find and a nice Friday night dinner.
As I waited, I began to notice that patrons that had been getting attentive service were suddenly looking around for their waiters. Drinks were going unfilled. I was noticing people who had been there before me who still had not received any food. The hostess was becoming flustered and kept apologizing to me about the wait. At this point, it had only been about 15 minutes so I wasn't irritated in the slightest.
Then the wheels came off. The couple eating next to me were joined by another couple who arrived late. This couple wanted pho but they were told, "We are out of pho". Out of pho at Pho Sapa on Friday night at 7:30 PM? OK, its their first Friday in business so I wasn't too surprised. This couple had a small child and when they didn't receive any food or see the waiter again for 30 minutes they took off. I had been in the place 45 minutes now and had teamed up with the other "to go" orders to figure out what was going on. Most of the staff was huddled in the back looking flustered and puzzled. The young hostess was visibly stressed and very apologetic but she pretty much told us it was going to be another half hour to an hour until the food was done. The other "to go" groups and I pulled the plug and voided our already processed credit card orders.
I walked out of the restaurant after more than hour and no food. One of the other guys I left with said he'd be back next week to give them another chance. I think the place needs a month.
I'd love to hear about any good experiences.