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11/9/10 visited around 6pm for dinner. The business calls itself a "Vietnamese & Chinese Restaurant". No customers in the restaurant, completely empty. The interior seemed clean, generally inviting and was decorated well enough.
A couple of potential anti-pho alarms went off as soon as I sat down. No sriricha sauce and hoisin sauce were on the table, and they had those cheesy wooden chinese restaurant chopsticks in a paper container. I friggin hate trying to eat pho with those tourist chopsticks. Rut Roh.
An American waiter came to my table. I asked him for grins what was better, the Bun or the Pho. He told me the Bun, lol. Well, I was in the mood for pho. The menu had a pho tai, and a pho chin, but I normally order pho tai chin nam. I asked him if I could get that and he had no clue what I was talking about. I asked him if there was any Vietnamese in the place, and he told me to wait a minute. He walks back to the kitchen and says loudly "He wants to order his food in Vietnamese" in a condescending manner. That pissed me off. A Filipino woman came out of the kitchen. I asked her if I could have pho tai chin nam, and she too had no clue what I was talking about. She left and finally a Vietnamese woman appeared out of the kitchen. I asked her if I could have pho tai chin nam, and she told me she didn't understand what "nam" was. Although I don't speak much Vietnamese, I have been ordering the stuff for 25 years, but she told me I didn't know what I was saying and I must have wanted "lam", whatever that is. I said to myself screw it, and asked her if she would bring me a bowl of tai chin, and she said she would.
I also ordered cha gio, and she asked me if I wanted Vietnamese egg rolls, like she didn't understand me. I told her yes I wanted cha gio, and she left. By this time, I was starting to really get pissed, and wondered if a Vietnamese customer had ever set foot in the place.
The cha gio ($6.00) came out, and the presentation was beautiful. Likely the best I have ever seen. Three large rolls split into 6 pieces with a very generous helping of several fresh vegetables. I finally saw something to smile about. The egg rolls were average in taste, a bit salty, and although light and crispy, didn't taste very fresh. But the good veggies and generous portions made up for the mediocre taste. The fish sauce was average at best, but overall I was a bit happier at this point.
The woman brought out the pho (only one size $7.45), and she told me she cooked me "pho tai lam", whatever the hell that is. The bowl was about medium size in my opinion. By this time, I had made the determination they likely didn't serve much pho there, and did not have high expectations. The veggies, like the cha gio veggies, where fresh. The noodles seemed undercooked a bit, but this didn't bother me. The broth was very bland. Some of the meats tasted decent, but several pieces tasted like they had freezer burn, and several pieces were nothing more than cuts of fat. They did bring out sriricha and hoisin sauce, so I doctored up the bowl to where it was pallatable. With the right seasonings, you can pep up a bowl of bong water, so it wasn't too nasty when all was said and done.
Overall, I would say the soup was bland at best. However, perhaps this is to be expected from what I speculated was a restaurant that got most of its business slinging Chinese food. There was one group of 3 elderly Americans that showed up right before I left, and although I didn't hear what they ordered, from what little I did overhear, they appeared to have never been there before, and I doubt they ordered Vietnamese food.
One other thing that bothered me was there were several friends and/or family visiting someone in the kitchen while I was there. They made a lot of noise, and had a toddler there who was screaming often, which bothered me. This was tacky.
Overall I would say the service was good. The waiter kept my water full and was attentive enough.
If you are a bigtime pho lover or consider yourself a pho connoisseur, I would recommend you stay away from this place. If you were staying in a hotel a couple blocks away and were in great need of a pho fix like I was, I might recommend it. I dunno.
Since there are several other pho options in Colorado Springs, I will likely not return.
This is simply the best Vietnamese and Chinese food that I've had here in Colorado Springs. The server where there for every need. The Pho was excellent. The portions are large...enough for two people. The cooks normally come out and ask you if everything is okay. Never really crowded...I like that because service is better for me and my family. :-) Try it you'll LIKE IT!!!!!
First of all, the food was very good. Secondly, the service was very bad. Took 15 minutes to get a glass of water, 20 minutes to take our order, 40 minutes to receive our appetizers, 55 minutes to receive the main course. Between the appetizer and main course I asked if we could receive our food and was told very curtly, 'this is not a fast food restuarant.' I really needed that reminder. Upon returning home discovered I was overcharged $8.00. What more can I say--If you want good food, have great patience and thick skin this is the place for you!