I'm used to Pho 79, Pho 99, and I seem to remember that Pho Cafe in Silver Lake was originally called, for a very short time, Pho 101. But in Koreatown pho has gone bigtime with Pho 2000 (branches at 7th & Vermont and Western near 1st) and Pho 4000 (located at Western and 4th).
Pho 2000's website states that "many in Koreatown, Los Angeles, have voted PHO 2000 as 'BEST PHO' restaurant in Los Angeles." But word on the street is that Pho 4000 is exponentially better. Just how good are these Korean phos?
Amy dresses her rare beef pho at Pho 2000:
Sassy C and I split an order of rare beef pho at Pho 4000:
This is one of my favorite videos! Check out Sarah's beautiful noodle technique:
The side of herbs served at Pho 4000 was definitely better; the herbs were fresher and more varied. The day that I went to Pho 2000 the herbs were a little wan.
Crab and pork spring rolls at Pho 2000:
And at Pho 4000:
While 2000's were hot and crunchy, they lacked a lot of flavor. 4000's were really good (and too hot to eat!)
Pho 2000 has a menu limited to pho and spring and summer rolls while Pho 4000 has a much more varied menu. Check out Raven's Bun Tom Thit Nuong (aka "Number 11"):
Championship point for Pho 4000? Hardly! The restaurant keeps double faulting. The fatal error is that their broth sucks (how else can I put it?). You know how people talk about things looking and tasting like dish water? Well, this broth really does. I should have known since I noticed that most people before us left large amounts of broth in their bowls.
The non-pho dishes were pretty good. A big foodie turned me onto the stir-fried rice noodles. They were good but they came with a price:
So, I wanted to order another order of the stir-fried noodles. I go into the back to look for our waitress but she has disappeared. I go up to the owner, a matronly woman, and say, "Excuse me, may we order another order of number 16?" She nods her head affirmitively. But 30 seconds later, she grabs a menu, walks over to our table, and starts yelling at me in pigdin english and pointing to number 16 (stir-fried noodles). She's getting madder and madder. I guess that I'm not getting my noodles. So we call the cook/busboy/waiter over and tell him what happened and he says, "that's just the way she is." He tells her that we want another order of number 16 and she's headed back to the table. Uh oh. But this time she's all smiles and says, "yes, you get number 16!" WTF!
So, Pho 2000 has pretty good broth and the service is friendly, efficient, and quick so it wins the Korean Pho Bowl.
How do these two places stack up against Vietnamese places? Well, not very well but if you live mid-city and you don't feel like driving to Westminster or SGV (or you don't want to pay $10 for a bowl of pho at a trendy Silver Lake Vietnamese place) it might be worth it to stop in at Pho 2000.
698 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90005
414 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Labels: Crazy Restaurant Owners, Koreatown, Pho, Pho 2000, Pho 4000