The price is right: $3.99 for a small bowl or $4.99 for a large bowl.
You get your choice of any combination of flank, brisket, tendon, rare steak and tripe.
The vegetables are not pristine like in other pho places, with blemishes on the basil and some of the bean sprouts not perfectly white. There’s nothing wrong with them, though, other than appearance. And the lemon wedges were very soft and full of fresh juice.
The large bowl is not gigantic like in some places, where you seemingly get a gallon of soup. But it was plenty of food for me for lunch. The noodles are clumped up initially, but as you pick away at them, they separate easily. Actually, since they are clumped, it allows the cook to fit in more meat.
And you get quite a bit of meat. I really enjoyed the brisket. It tasted like the slow-roasted kind my grandmother makes.
Of course all broths are different, and here it’s not as full-flavored as, say, Pho So 1 or the pho place just north of downtown on Broadway. But it’s also not Viet Noodle Bar, with its pho that tastes like chicken soup. I like all of these….they’re just different. Here the flavor is more along the lines of Pho So 1, just not as pungent.
And for $4.99, they had quite a crowd. Considering they just opened in October, I was impressed to see 8 of their 10 tables full for a 12:30 lunch on a Thursday.
Oh, and they also have a banh mi special: a banh mi sandwich and a canned soda for $4.99.
5229 Hollywood (at Harvard in the old Thai Angel Café space)
I agree with lil mikey's review overall and would like to add more:
This (Pho Hollywood Noodle at 5229 Hollywood) is a true neighborhood gem. It's not easy to find pho and banh mi in Hollywood, so it's pretty terrific when you find that one and it's this good. I've had pho and banh mi in the San Gabriel Valley, Koreatown, and Chinatown. For Pho, this place has some of the most delicious broth I've had. No wonder! I'm told the owner is strict about maintaining a 12-hour cooking time for that broth. It shows.
And the banh mi? A delight. Special care is taken to balance the flavors this beautiful sandwich. The veggies are julienned with precision, the meat soulfully marinated and cut thinly so that everything comes together rightly in the airy, crispy, chewy baguette. Yes, this banh mi is a dollar more than at Banh Mi Che Cali in SG, for example, but it's worth it to my palate, and still very inexpensive for such a delicious and dietarily balanced sandwich.
On top of that, the specialty drinks are fantastic. My favorite: the taro smoothie, the flavor of which will bring back many people's childhood memories of ice cream cones. Yum!
Service is very friendly. This is a joyful place.