Vallejo finally has a Vietnamese restaurant, as of two weeks ago. There's a "Grand Opening" banner outside and the windows are stenciled with "King Eggroll and Fast Food To GO". I stopped by early today to get take out of a tapioca drink for breakfast and pho bo to reheat later for lunch. The restaurant has two storefronts in the mall - one with a prep counter and formica-topped tables and a separate dining room with several larger round white-clothed tables, dance floor and karaoke setup with big screen TV.
The standard appetizers, noodle soups, vermicelli and rice plates are offered, as well as 36 different drinks. I could see the chunks of fresh fruits behind the counter which was a welcome change from the many places that use canned syrups. I had an avocado shake with tapioca pearl, $3.50. A nice job on this with not too much sugar, icey but still smooth, and the boba still had some resistance and weren't too soft.
The #2 Pho dac biet was the special combo of rare beef slices, flank, tendon, brisket and tripe, $5.50, and each component of my order was packed separately to go. The garnishes of bean sprouts, jalapeno slices, basil and limes were very fresh and plentiful. The brisket wasn't cooked enough and was still tough, and didn't have that much flavor, but the other meats were fine. The reheated soup was fragrant and deep with a few more beads of oil floating on the surface than it should, but still a nice rendition. Since I had this a few hours after purchase, I can't judge the rice noodles since they had clumped but were about the right texture.
All in all, this was a good lunch and breakfast at a fair price and I'm sure it's going to be very popular with the locals.
Pho Saigon Express Restaurant
102 Springs Town Center
Open 7 days a week