Once he approached the door, though, the insanely welcoming atmosphere drew him in. The place was tiny and stuffed to the gills with happily slurping customers. Waiters were balancing steaming bowls of pho as they glided between tables, and as one hurriedly wiped a table, he said to us, "We'll have a table for you in one minute!" And sure enough.
I got a small pho tai which proved to be enough pho for two meals. Also, it proved to be DAMN DELICIOUS, far and away the best pho I've had yet. I could have eaten it without adding anything at all to it and it still would have been that; however, the bowl of beyond fresh veggies - so many veggies that if I had put them all in, the bowl would have overflowed every drop of broth onto the floor - beckoned and I stuffed my pho with them. No sauce though. It just plain didn't need it. I could minutely adjust the broth's flavor to my exact tastes just by adding or taking away one lime, or jalapeno, or sprig of mint, or basil. I had fun with this, changing the taste of my broth every few bites to vary the experience. The broth seemed to be foolproof; nothing I did to it ever marred the wonderful taste.
Dan's combination rice plate was shockingly tasty. I never order rice plates and I wouldn't have done it here, but I admit I stole more than a few bites of his delicious spicy pork and chicken, and an entire egg roll, which was paired with a sauce that exploded with fishy flavor. Dan, who hates fishy fish and only reluctantly eats even the highest quality of, say, mackerel, SOAKED his egg rolls in this sauce.
On top of that, our boba smoothies were perfect. Dan's taro didn't suffer from the great vexation of most taro drinks: that they're too sweet. This taro tasted like a SLIGHTLY sweetened, blended root... as it should. My mango was clearly fresh puree and topped with whipped cream. Neither of us were able to finish ours in the restaurant, they were so huge. We refused to throw them away, though! We had to take them with us.
I couldn't find a thing wrong with this restaurant. Service: perfect. Food: out of this world. I could eat it every night. Fresh, tasty, complex, and made me feel good afterwards. Ambiance: like my grandma's own dining room. We were treated like family. Everyone was. They manage the impossible; quick customer turnover without rushing anyone.
As an endnote... how is it possible for 4'10" grandmothers to eat bowls of large pho all by themselves in one sitting?? There were like 5 of them in there, inhaling their gigantic bowls within 10 minutes... I'm so jealous.