Ordered the Pho Dac Biet with top round, tendon, tripe, flank and meatballs. The broth was complexly delicious, rich and not over powered by anise (hate overly anised Pho). Very generous with the meats, and of course all the usual Pho accompaniments were included. Bean sprouts, lime, jalepeno, thai basil, onion,etc. The Pho is as good if not better than any I have had in the cities and would definitely return. The Chicken Wings were also delicious. The Fish Balls were not to my liking however I'll chalk that up to personal preference and not the restaurants fault. The menu is pretty extensive and includes vegetarian options. Can't wait to go back and try some other things.
First visit loved, loved, loved tofu curry and also the jook. First was beautifully seasoned and crammed with perfectly steamed vegetables (curry was of the coconut milk sort) and second was rich-tasting and comforting. Service was awful. Aw. Ful. No one acknowledged us forever and had one waitress for the entire restaurant. My friend received the wrong order (I can't remember what it was now) and we didn't bother even trying to flag down the waitress and then waiting again.
Second visit same meal: curried tofu felt dashed off and veggies not well done at all; jook, juk congee was reeeeaaaaaaly starchy and thick and dry. Must have been sitting all day. Kind of sick making like a big bowl of unflavored starch or playdough. Service again was middling. I'd actually give them another chance.
I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a similar experience. The service was absolutely awful. Not entirely the waitress's fault since the place was packed, but there were people waiting for tables while I was sitting around waiting for my check. I eventually just had to go up to her and ask for it directly.
The food was good, I especially liked the fried banana with jackfruit. Next time it'll be take out.
I stopped in last night and had a lengthy chat with Ha who is one of the two sisters that own both restaurants. She is very committed to producing a quality product and does not ever use MSG in any of her food products. I ordered take out with high hopes, and those hopes were completely fulfilled.
Egg rolls, normally I am just not a fan due to the fact that usually it is congealed mess inside of an oil soaked wrapper, but my wife likes them. These were probably the best egg rolls I have seen outside of my friend Tao's mothers kitchen. Perfectly cooked, and maintained a wonderfully crunchy vegetable interior.
Spring rolls, very fresh served with the somewhat standard Vietnamese hosin style dipping sauce, nice tasting shrimp and pork.
Special fried rice, again very fresh not oily tasting and perfectly cooked. Total home run on this!
And then the main, Hot and Spicy Chicken with Lemongrass... It was perfect, beyond perfect, it was addicting, I am getting hungry now just thinking of it. Perfectly prepared, the dish had all the flavors that I have come to expect, but it was better. Really better.
The place was empty when I was there at 4:30 and Ha stated that business had been quite slow lately, this is a place that absolutely deserves to survive. There is nothing at all like it in the Mac Groveland area and IMHO it rivals any of the Vietnamese places down the road on University or conversely over in Mpls on eat street. The menu is huge, including Hot and Spicy Goat, which I can not wait to try the next time I am in, which at the rate that I am now salivating over last nights mini feast, will probably be tonight.
If you are in the area, you really need to try this place out, and if you are not in the area it is worth the drive. Absolutely fantastic, fresh, authentic and no MSG which in Ha's stated opinion is just a short cut to good tasting food. An opinion that I agree with wholeheartedly.
re: doctor k
I love it too, though I'm worried because they had LOTS of people in last night after an article in the Strib and were way understaffed to handle it. It seems to be a dilemma--good press means people swarm, slow service disappoints and potentially defeats the benefit of a good review. I hope people try again--great food and really nice people!