Pho Garden

5609 Freeport Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95822

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Since Futami Japanese restaurant closed its doors in wait for the next restaurant to open, people were expecting Fatty Cow Hot Pot to open in its place since a sign was put up. However, months later, Pho Garden became the eventual tenant at the location. Upon entering, you will see that the restaurant is fairly modern with dark colors and flat-screen TVs on the wall playing NBA TV. Service was OK at first as we were seated in the side of the restaurant. Upon looking through the menu, I found that the menu was fairly limited and seemed slightly pricy. Also, you will notice that there is only one size for Pho.

Today, we ordered the Pho Tai (Rare Steak), Grilled Pork Chop Rice Plate, and Grilled Pork and Imperial Rolls Vermicelli Noodles. The Pho came in a medium-sized piping-hot bowl with onions in it, when I specifically said no onions when ordering. The broth was fairly clear and extremely oily. There was not much body to the broth at all. There was an OK amount of beef inside, but it was mostly cooked already since the broth was so hot. I ended up picking out the onions and added some hoisin sauce to bring up the flavor. Also, I found that there were limited condiments available to flavor the Pho, which only really included hoisin sauce, sriracha, salt, pepper, and pickled jalapeno. There was not enough noodles and the noodles tasted crunchy. The grilled pork chop rice plate came with pork chops that were cut thinner than other restaurants and rice that was hard. The dish was quite hard to eat without drinking more water at the same time. The marinade for the pork was good though. The vermicelli dish came in a plate instead of bowl like other restaurants, which made it harder to mix than usual. The “imperial rolls” tasted OK and were very hot. The vermicelli tasted OK, but there was not enough meat to go with the dish.

Overall, Pho Garden offers a small menu with the usual Vietnamese dishes. However, the prices charged for the amount of food received is not a great value. Also, we had to ask for the check ourselves even though we had finished eating for a many minutes already. They had no excuse since the restaurant was fairly empty. Unfortunately, the Pho really fell short here, which is a major concern for a Pho restaurant. The other dishes were OK, but I cannot believe they did not know now to cook rice properly. Unfortunately, even though this restaurant is so close to home, I cannot recommend this restaurant and thus suggest you go to Stockton Boulevard to eat at Saigon Restaurant instead.

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