Pho Tan Hoa
A couple of months ago, Pho Hoa on Jones street in Tenderloin changed its name to Pho Tan Hoa. I guess the owner didn't want people to confuse it with the Pho Hoa chain.
And Pho Hoa it isn't.
I've never been here before, and what have I been missing!
The large "small" bowl of steaming hot pho (#16) arrives with thin beef slices completely pink on top, and plenty of tendon underneath. The rich broth is much darker than the Northern version without being murky, with just a pleasant hint of various spices - star anise, ginger... and such a generous portion... So this is what a Saigon pho should taste like.
I've found a new benchmark.
I didn't take my camera with me to lunch today, so I took the pictures with my cell phone.
431 Jones Street
I have lunch there several times a month and have to agree. Once or twice the broth has been a bit cloudy, but overall they're pretty consistent. And what you call a hint of spices some would call not enough, but that's a matter of taste. For me, the quality of the rare beef sets them apart from most of the tenderloin pho shops.
You might also try the pho at Ngu Binh on the 300 block of Jones. The broth is every bit as good as Pho Tan Hoa's. Not as much meat, but slightly cheaper. Also a lot less noisy.