Today I wanted a bowl of pho and wasn't in the mood to drive, so headed over to the Pho Bac Hoa Viet on Madison just east of I-80. I typically avoid this location even though it's close to my house; although the broth is the same as at all the other Hoa Viets, the table salad is inferior (no ngo gai, basil sometimes past its prime), and the non-pho dishes are inconsistent at best.
More significantly, the service has been atrocious lately. A couple of months ago, I went in and waited 15 minutes before the server acknowledged me, waited another 20 before food was brought to the table, sent it back because it was a rice plate instead of the pho that had been ordered, waited another 10 minutes for the pho, and then had to wait 10 minutes for the check. Oh, and my water glass sat empty the whole time.
Well, things have changed. There's a brand new manager, a woman who appears to be in her 30s, and she is whipping the place into shape. Still no ngo gai, but she said her first produce order hadn't been filled yet and they should have it from here on out. Service was prompt and attentive. And the pho was as good as ever. Next time I'll have to try the pork balls and fried shrimp paste cake. Maybe tomorrow.
Anyway, if any of you Sacramento 'hounds have been avoiding this location based on past performance, it may be time to give it another chance. YMMV, but my experience today was entirely positive.