Thought I’d chime in with a review of Pho 14 (Park Road west of 14th Street). I had dinner there tonight (Thursday).
I’ll start with the good news: the pho itself is quite good. I don’t think it’s quite on par with Pho 75, but it’s not far off, either. The broth is a tad saltier than I’m used to, and a little lacking in onion (green and white) and cilantro. The beef (I got the pho tai, which is just the eye of round beef) was okay, although I prefer getting it when it’s blood-red rare in the bowl, so that the broth cooks it until it’s just done. The beef here was a little more done than I like, but that’s a small matter. We also ordered the three types of spring rolls (fried, fresh w/shrimp and pork, fresh veggie), which were all pleasant, if unremarkable. The only negative I’d note was that the peanut dipping sauce was really thin and watery; its much thicker, and deeper in flavor, at most other Vietnamese places I’ve been to.
As for the service, well… it was opening night, they were slammed with people, so I don’t want to be too hard on them. But there are definitely huge kinks that they need to work out. Our party was seated for about 25 minutes before we had our order taken, and that was only because we finally flagged someone down (I noticed a couple of parties got up and left after getting seated because no one had taken their order). We had to flag someone down again to bring us utensils for the spring rolls, and again for spoons and chopsticks after the pho was brought out. Of the five of us, they missed one order of pho (which was brought out within a couple minutes thereafter), and got two others slightly wrong. One person ordered a drink that never came (although they did bring it to us at the end of the meal, after we got the bill and asked about it).
The staff was very apologetic, and were sincere in trying to fix things for us, so that’s a big plus. Like I said, it was opening night, so some snafus are to be expected… I think there were probably more than I (and probably they) had hoped for, however. Of course, I’m used to the well-oiled machine of Pho 75, which seats you, takes your order, and serves you within a space of about 90 seconds. I’ll definitely come back to Pho 14 — I’m a huge pho fan, and having a place that is so close, and pretty close in quality to other Pho places is awesome — but I’m going to wait a few weeks until they (hoepfully) have the service issues a bit more worked out.”
I have heard that they were super crowded so considering they just opened I wouldn’t judge them too harshly on the service. As the reader mentioned, there are always kinks to be worked out on opening night. But I am curious to know what you guys thought of the food. So let us know which Pho you ordered and your first impression.