Restaurant Review: The Pho Shop in Point Loma’s Midway District

by on September 8, 2017 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Restaurant Review

The Pho Shop
3760 Sports Arena Blvd., Suite 3
San Diego, CA 92110

I am always delighted when someone that has read my reviews asks if they can do one with me.  I want to encourage my readers to do just that.  And today, I met a “new friend” – Kareen, who agreed to try out The Pho Shop – (where the Mandarin Plaza Chinese Buffet used to be, behind the Red Lobster.)

In talking to Michael, our server, we found out that the restaurant is family owned and many of the recipes are from different members of the family.  Michael, by the way, knew his menu and his food, and was a delight to have as our server.

The menu starts with Khai Vi – starters, of course.  They range from $4.25 for two spring rolls to $7.95 for 4 rolls.  There are seven available, plus vegetarian egg rolls that are available but not listed.

There is the typical Bahn Mi – Vietnamese Sandwich – consisting of grilled pork, chicken or a vegetarian mix, and the three are $5.95 each.

Pho with skirt steak

The Pho – Rice Noodle Soup has nine listings, and do not vary much in cost – $7.95 – $9.95.  The soups are served with beef broth and bones with no added oils.  You have your choice of meats, shrimp, tofu, and chicken breast.  A Vegetarian broth is available on three of the items.

On the Com Tam – Broken Rice menu there are 8 items; and all plates are served with broken rice, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, daikon, tomato and their own chili vinaigrette.  If you dine in there is a small bowl of their broth served with it.  The prices range from $8.95-11.95.

The Bun – Rice Noodle Salad lists seven salads, with a variety of protein – pork, shrimp, chicken, etc.

Egg rolls

There is a section called, “Off the Wok” which includes four varieties of fried rice, ranging from $9.95-$12.95.  There is also a section of

Mi Xao-Stir fried egg noodle, and it also offers four items and range in price from $9.95-$12.95.

There is draft beer as well as wine available, and there are a variety of non-alcoholic beverages.

We started out with Coi Cuon – a “refreshing spring roll with Shrimp, Pork, lettuce, bean sprouts, Mint, Rice Noodles wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut sauce.” They were large and tasty.  The peanut sauce was good, although Kareen thought it was a little spicy.  (I didn’t detect any spice at all, but she got the last of the container so it might have been spicier than what I had at the beginning.) The two rolls were $4.25.

Pho with steak and shrimp

Kareen ordered the Pho with “the tenderest steak”.  Michael suggested the flank steak and that’s what she ordered. It was very tender, but had strips of fat that should have been removed before it was served.  It was listed in the menu as “marbling flank” but it was more “fat” than marble.  The meat, sans fat, was very tasty.

I ordered the Tai Tom – San Diego’s Surf & Turf with thinly sliced steak and shrimp.  The meat was very tender, and there’s about 6 shrimp in the soup.  It was packed with noodles and the dish of basil and sprouts was a welcome addition. Both of our orders were $9.95.

Kareen asked for more cilantro and it was brought quickly.  We both remarked at how tasty the broth was.  It did not really need anything added to it.

When we first walked into the restaurant, a couple already seated were eating an interesting looking salad.  Kareen asked the young lady what she was eating and she said it was a Rice Noodle Salad. When we looked on the menu we saw that it was served with rice noodles, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, daikon, bean sprouts, mint, green onions, peanut and chili vinaigrette and the lady had added chicken to it, while her companion added shrimp.  We had a hard time deciding between the salad and the Pho, and we each ended up ordering a salad to take home.

Salad with chicken

I just tasted it – with the chicken – and it is delicious.  A perfect meal for a hot, humid day, for both lunch or dinner.

The meal was very good.  Neither of us cared for the music that was being played; in fact, it was rather annoying because of a loud bass beat.  Besides the music there were two – muted – televisions playing. (For the life of me I cannot understand why T.V.’s have to be turned on and then muted.)

If you are expecting the booths and ambiance that was there when the restaurant was the Mandarin Plaza, you will be sorely disappointed.  The room where the buffet was held is not used at all anymore.  But the service was good; and so was the food.   We both agreed that we would go back and try one of the other items that are on the menu.  Our total bill, including the two salads came to $52.31 without the tip.  Not too bad for four meals!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave September 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

This place is second only to Noodle House/1502, and Chris and I have sampled most of the pho in OB, Pt. Loma, and PB. It’s also much mellower than our OB favorites, if that’s what you’re looking for.


Cliff September 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

The food here is really good. Only issue is a little too much MSG for my tastes.


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