When you want to eat something late at night, especially after midnight, there are not too many places to choose from. Let's just say Vancouver is a little behind in that respect. When I was in NYC, everything was open! One ol' standby is Pho Hoa. You really can't go wrong with Pho Hoa. It may not be the best pho in town; but it certainly is predictable. This Vietnamese restuarant has many locations around the world and I've been to ones here in GVR, Edmonton, and Milpitas (California). I can say that the they are pretty much the same throughout the chain. You know what you are getting, and I guess that would be the advantage of Pho Hoa over some mom 'n pop joints.
Tonight, it was like any other Friday night. We had just finished up our hockey game and were looking for eats. Boss Woman wanted to do wonton noodles; but we put down that idea. Nobody really wanted to do that, and besides, Polka King and I just ate it a couple of days ago. Like most other Pho places, the decor is pretty minimalistic. Also, if you are looking for a sparkling clean restaurant, you've come to the wrong place. I am not picking on Pho Hoa specifically, since other Asian restaurants in this genre are equally dirty. However, being a large chain restaurant that spans the globe, you'd think they would have higher standards. Anyways, the menu is again, pretty standard, you have your Pho (Vietnamese beef soup noodle), vermicelli bowls with various types of meat and spring rolls, and rice with various meats.
I went for my usual large #44, which is a bowl of Pho which consists of brisket, tendon, flank and tripe. It's listed under Adventurer's Choice and aptly so. For me, it's just normal. The soup base for the Pho is not too heavy; but well seasoned. It's probably a bit stronger compared to places such as Pho Hong and Au Petit. That could be the result of boiling the broth longer, more flavouring ingredients, or msg. I am hoping it's not the latter. Milhouse, Bear and Polka King all had vermicelli bowls. Shredded Pork, Beef and Chicken respectively. All looked pretty good and were cooked nicely; but Bear complained that there wasn't really all that much meat. This brings up one beef (sorry for the pun) I have with Pho Hoa is that the portions are not as large as some of the independent Vietnamese restaurants, but I guess this is what you are giving up for name brand consistency. Service is efficient and fast (food will come out shortly after you have ordered); however, like many restaurants in this genre, you will find it unmemorable and uninspired. Not necessarily a knock on Pho Hoa, but don't expect anything more than the minimum. Pho Hoa is a solid choice for Vietnamese food, especially late at night. Yet, if you want something a bit more exciting and bigger portions, go elsewhere.
- Food tastes good
- Open late
- Portions are a bit on the smaller side
- Service is lacking enthusiasm
- A bit dirty