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Mar 21, 2012 03:02 PM

Turtle Tower SOMA not as good?

So I am having desperate pho withdrawal and need treatment quick. Unfortunately, the nearest pho source for me is the Turtle Tower in SOMA. The last time I went, the broth was really weak. I've always heard such good things about this place. Is there a difference between SOMA location and the others? Where else would you recommend for a SOMA/Potrero dweller? Sunflower is abysmally bland and its a trek out to the Sunset.

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  1. I think the Turtle Tower in SOMA isn't quite as good as the Turtle Tower in the Tenderloin, but it is more of an issue of freshness/turnover than that it has a weak broth. For example, occasionally a bowl in SOMA looks like the the cilantro or green onion or jalapeno or chicken was cut perhaps yesterday night rather than fresh that morning. I get the feeling that maybe the SOMA people are trying to save some time in the morning by prepping the evening before.

    However, Turtle Tower does Northern style pho which is more delicate and has less spices than the Saigon style which is more common here. So maybe Turtle Tower simply isn't to your taste. If that is the case, I recommend Ha Nam Ninh which is where I go for Southern style beef pho. Be patient, b/c bowl is made to order and they kind of operate on Vietnam time. Also ask for beef on the side if you like your beef rare, b/c their stock is very hot.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sfbing

      Thanks for the response. I wasn't so much disappointed with the lack of intensity of the flavors, but nothing special to the broth. Tasted like straight out of the box/can. I thought maybe the Hall of Justice lunch rush made it difficult to put out a consistent product. Maybe I will give them another shot. Either way, will check out Ha Nam Ninh.

      1. re: minerva1672

        did you get the Pho Bo (moo) or Pho Ga (cluck)? for me, the beef pho is just OK, but I really like the chicken pho.

        i think the locations are relatively consistent for the broth flavor, but the service at the SOMA location has been lacking.

        1. re: drewskiSF

          Pho Ga - the one everyone seems to love.... which is why I ask. Maybe I just went on an off day.