Mediocre Meal at Pho Pasteur
I know that Pho Pasteur in Chinatown is generally held in high regard and I've had a number of good meals myself there in the past. I had a bad experience there last week, though, and am curious to know if it was just an aberration or is part of a larger pattern.
I hadn't been there since they remodeled and the first thing I noticed was that the prices went up. Pho Pasteur used to be one of the very few places in town where you could get a good quality meal at below market price, which I'm assuming was a big part of its appeal. Now that its prices are on par with other similarly situated restaurants, I'm curious to see it continue to pull in the crowds.
My friend and I ordered the same dish, tofu with tomatoes and pineapple. Both dishes arrived without the pineapple, leaving us with a steaming heap of tofu and unripe tomato chunks swimming in admittedly tasty sauce. After hastily dropping our dishes on the table, our waitress completely vanished and we felt we were left without recourse to complain about the lack of pineapple.
Lastly, when we were finally able to get the check and put down money, no one brought us back the change. Since we were only waiting on a relatively small amount, we left without pursuing it.
Based on this experience (average prices, mediocre food, inadequate service), I'm reluctant to return to Pho unless others are still singing its praises.
1. Pho Pasteur is not owned nor managed by the original owner.
2. Anytime a restaurant or any other business remodel and/or transfer owner, you can expect a hefty price increase.
3. In general, Vietnamese restaurants anywhere around the world are not known for nor expected to provide automatic good service. They will never ask how's your meal going and they don't wanna deal with it. It's just not part of the culture. If you get good service and your empty water glass refilled, consider it a blessing.
I'd also say that though you might expect your dish to be at least prepared as described, it is a Pho restaurant so I think evaluating its quality based on it's signature dish is probably a better gauge. I have not been to the place since it's new incarnation. If you're vegetarian then Pho is probably not an option (not sure if there is a true vegetarian version of that).
I have always felt that Pho Pasteur was borderline at best.
Strange dish to order though given so many other options.
I go to Pho regularly, and as stated below, service is not their strong point. I've never had a bad meal there, and you can still get a meal for 2 w/ an app. for $20 or so, which I think is pretty fantastic. I don't think they've gone down-hill at all after the renovation. I don't think the focus has ever been on service. But with soup like that.... I don't care.