As unlikely as it may sound, before going to Pho Hòa Ty, I'd never been to a pho restaurant. I love Vietnamese food but I don't really like soup so I've never been particularly drawn to them. Still, last Sunday night (February 2004), we found ourselves driving down Mission Boulevard in Hayward looking for a place to have dinner and Pho Hba Ty seemed as good a choice as any.
The little restaurant is not much to look at. It doesn't have any ambiance whatsoever, unless you consider posters of food and a TV showing the Superbowl ambiance, but it does seem to have a large Vietnamese and Asian clientele. Then again, it is located near lot of other Asian businesses in Hayward.
The menu featured a few appetizers, a lot of phos and a few rice & meat and noodles & meat dishes. It also had several drinks including Vietnamese fruit shakes!
Mike and I shared the pork spring rolls. They were supposed to have pork and other meat, and maybe they did, but we couldn't really see it. Mostly they were filled with some white chewy vegetable that had the consistency of a rubber band. The dipping sauce was good but we wouldn't order the spring rolls again.
Mike ordered a beef pho. He wasn't too enthusiastic about it; we both thought the meat was kind of bland, but Mika really took a liking to the broth. She drank quite a few soup-spoons (and poured even more all over herself). Too bad soup is not more nutritious.
I had the noodle and chicken bowl; again, a first for me. The small slices of chicken were truly delicious, I don't know what that the chicken was marinated in, but I'm going to try to find a recipe. It was that good. I wasn't as impressed by the rest of the dish. The noodles were just noodles, completely tasteless, though the accompanying sauce and cilantro helped. It was served with bean sprouts and sliced cucumber.
Mike had a diet coke while I had a strawberry shake with pearl. The pearls (tapioca balls) were interesting but I wouldn't order them again. The shake itself was delicious.
The food was pretty affordable, most dishes were around $6-7, and our whole bill came to about $25 including tax and tip.
Mike said he'd go there again while I probably wouldn't (and would avoid pho places in general).
Pho Hòa Ty
21849 Mission Blvd.