I moved from a suburb of DC to Boston in 2007. I’d grown accustomed to some great pho (pronounced ‘phuh’) at a few strip mall pho places in and around my work. It’s cheap, filling, and healthy.
Which leads me to my explanation for the three star review. I have to say, although the fare at Pho Hoa is delicious, I’m rather disappointed by knowing that the best pho restaurant in Boston is not even close to as good as the best pho restaurant in Gaithersburg, MD. To the Bostonians reading my review without prior knowledge of pho, I say, “Ignorance is bliss.”
The last time I was there, we ordered egg rolls and they were there in seconds – lukewarm. Pho can be delivered in seconds, but eggrolls should be made to order. As you read this, let it be known that if my McDonald’s Hash Browns aren’t going to burn the roof of my mouth, I send them back; so you make the call on this one. I bring this up because knowing that they would drop a mistake order on me leads to think that there are some other things they’re skimping on food-wise.
I could be wrong here, but I believe that the true mark of a great pho restaurant is the white meat chicken pho. It’s the only thing I’ll order when I go here and it meets expectations for good pho, but not great pho. The basil, cilantro, and sprouts are fresh, but the lime I had there once was a little dry, the standard portions of the vegetables are insufficient for my liking (I’m sure you could ask for more and they’d happily oblige), and the chicken didn’t knock my socks off. That being said, even accomplished pho-ers will find this dish acceptable.
You can get out of here for less than $20 with a date and a shared appetizer. This is great because if you take someone who’s never had pho before, they’ll freakin’ love it AND be amazed at the price, and you’ll smile to yourself and think, “Damn I wonder how good that place in Gaithersburg is?”