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Phonomenal - Pho in National City

I've seen this place pop up on Instagram several times and noticed they had good Yelp reviews so it piqued my interest. I don't go National City too often but about a month ago I had to pick something up at a store in that area so I decided to check it out. I heard that they sell out of Pho a lot and parking is pretty scarce. The main draw for me was that they offer beef ribs in their Pho, which is a rarity. I had to check them out.

So I got there pretty early. It's in a peculiar location, a corner of an apartment complex i believe. There are only about 4 spots reserved for the restaurant but I was able to snag one of them.

It's about 11:00 and only a couple of customers. A nice young man tells me to sit anywhere and point out the QRC code for the menu. He mentions the menu is pretty simple and really not much choices. Only one type of Pho. All come with beef ribs and meatballs. No rare steak, flank, brisket, or tripe. There are Spring Rolls and different types of drinks, but really not much to choose from, which is fine with me, as long as they do it well.

The interior was clean and everything looked pretty new. It is a fairly small restaurant with maybe 7 tables if I can recall, but they seem to be making the best of the size.

I order the House Special and the Cococane drink, which is a mix of sugar cane and coconut juice. It was pretty sweet, as expected but it hit the spot. The pho itself was a beautiful looking bowl, with two good size beef rib. I tasted the broth before I performed the cardinal sin of dousing my Pho with hoisin and Sriracha sauce. The broth was very tasty. It was a bit sweeter than most other broth but it had alot of umami, with strong notes of star anise and cinnamon. The waiter asked if I liked it hot when i ordered, and I was unsure as I usually don't put hot spices in my pho but he offered to put some hot sauce on the side. The meatballs were good but usually not something I order with my pho. As far as the beef ribs, they were excellent. They were tender, pretty much falling off the bone

By the time I was finishing up my meal, it was getting pretty crowded, even with a queue of people waiting in line. The staff was pretty nice and attentive although it was getting hard for them to keep up with all of the incoming crowds. I did chat up with the waiter early in the meal and was asking about the restaurant (how long they've been in business, etc). They were only open for about a year and their menu is kept small because they just wanting to focus on a single dish and make it the best they can. It is much like the Hawker Stalls in Singapore where each stall just serves on type of dish. It is fine with me because alot of places that are in my rotation, I really only one or two dishes for all eternity.

Anyway, two thumbs up for this place. Keep in mind, they usually sell out of Pho before closing.


National City, CA 91950


Mon: Closed

Tues - Sun: 10am - 7pm

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