Apparently everyone else felt the same way. There was a small line of about half a dozen people waiting for a seat at Pho Ha in Pomona.
I was pretty surprised actually. I mean, this is the Inland Valley. Why would anyone opt for Vietnamese food outside of Little Saigon? But hey, not all Vietnamese Americans live in the OC.
There's a small cluster of Vietnamese restaurants, a fairly large grocery store, and other businesses around the intersection of Indian Hill and Holt in Pomona. It's been nearly a decade since I've eaten at Pho Ha. This used to be an occasional lunch spot when I worked out here a long, long time ago. I remembered it as bare-bones. And that the pho was so greasy that a dribble on the table had congealed by the end of the meal.
That's not the case anymore. The restaurant has now expanded into the shop next door to double its size. The walls are a warm, muted autumn orangey-brown. The customers ranged from a large Mexican family to a mixed group of mechanics to Claremont college students.
The best part was that my bowl of pho had a light, clear broth that was still very flavorful without being overpowering. So good that I even slurped the broth after eating what seemed like a never-ending bowl of noodles. Seriously, Pho Ha gives you quite a lot of noodles.
No grease dribbles this time around.
The regular bowl is $4.85, extra large $5.35. I have no idea why there's no size large. I ordered the #3 with rare slices of steak, well-done flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe. I love me my tripe, but was sad that there wasn't very much of it. The steak was thinly sliced and perfect. The tendon was nicely chewy without being fatty at all. Or maybe I'm confusing that with fatty brisket, which wasn't fatty either.
Maybe it was the rainy weather, or the morning of Christmas shopping, but this was a seriously satisfying bowl of pho. Not a drive out from OC bowl of pho. But definitely a coming back from Vegas along the 10 freeway, or coming back from outlet or mall shopping, bowl of pho stop.
The menu features 110 items from hu tieu (rice noodle), mi (egg noodle), bun (vermicelli noodles), banh hoi (steamed vermicelli noodle sheets), beef stew, rice plates, stir-fries, vegetarian, and specials. But when a restaurant is named after a particular dish, take their built-in recommendation and order that dish.
695 N. Indian Hill Blvd.
Pomona, CA 91767