Diamond in the Rough....
Wish I had found this place sooner during my summer here in Richmond. Don't be put off by its strip mall location (in the KMart shopping center on Hull St.); inside is a charming restaurant. I was served by the owner, a warm and friendly man. He made me a delicious iced Vietnamese coffee. I had the shrimp and pork rice paper rolls to start. Delicious! Yummy peanut dipping sauce, and there is chili sauce on each table to give it some zing if you like. Next I had the pho, easily one of the best I have ever had. A generous knot of rice vermicelli noodles floating in an incredibly rich, hearty broth, thinly sliced beef, onions and fresh herbs. The perfect dish to nurse my summer cold. Served with sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, a wedge of lime, and some sliced jalapeno so you can flavor to taste.
Very affordable and a TON of food for the price (my bill was around $12.50). Two meals worth really, it made me wish I had brought someone with me. Oh well, I guess I'll just get to enjoy it again for lunch tomorrow! When I realized I was totally full and asked to take the rest home, the owner asked me if I would eat it tonight or tomorrow--when I told him it was for my lunch tomorrow, he packed the noodles in a separate container from the remaining broth to keep them from getting too saturated.
I consider this place a real find. Such personalized service and attention to detail are rare indeed these days, especially combined with really great food. The experience was like eating at your Vietnamese grandparents' house. Surprising ambience for the location, I especially liked the two large green lobsters on the wall!