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Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeUnited StatesArizonaPho King Kitchen Scottsdale: Good Pho, Bad Phoking Service

Pho King Kitchen Scottsdale: Good Pho, Bad Phoking Service

Noodles Ranch is my favorite pho place in Arizona. The pho is delicious and I’ve known the friendly owner for over a decade. While I felt guilty about going to a competing pho restaurant, I swore an oath to try as much pho as possible before I die.

Enter Pho King Kitchen Scottsdale, a restaurant that infringes on my title and my favorite t-shirt from Vietnam.

a man sitting at a table with food and drinks
TPOL in Saigon

a wall with graffiti on it a framed art on a wall

The Good 

Self-Service 

Like Shake Shack, the restaurant was self-service. As an anti-tipper, I appreciated that. a room with tables and chairs

The Menu 

I also liked the eclectic menu. Usually, I am not a proponent of ‘Asian fusion’, but I appreciated the twist on Vietnamese favorites.

a plate of food on a table
Chicken spring rolls

The Toppings 

I liked the all you can eat toppings.

a trays of food in a restaurant a bowl of vegetables and beans

The Pho 

This is what it’s all about. Forget the name of the place; forget the trendy vibe. Ultimately, it comes down to the bowl.

The Broth 

The picture does not lie. The broth was top notch.
a bowl of soup with noodles and green onions

The Beef 

Thinly cut pieces of beef in generous portions are another sign of a great bowl.

a bowl of soup with vegetables and meat

The Noodles

Unlike the gross, thick noodles at Turtle Tower San Francisco, these were thin and not overcooked. a bowl of soup with meat and jalapenos

The Result 

Like a great bottle of wine, a perfect bowl of pho is judged by one thing and one thing only: was it consumed till the last drop?

a bowl of noodles with chopsticks

Indeed it was.

The Bad Service

There’s something off about people in Scottsdale. I have lived here intermittently since 2005 and still cannot explain it. The weather is nice, the cost of living is low, and life is generally pleasant. Despite the sunny outlook, the people are not very friendly. This is puzzling because many of Scottsdale’s residents are transplants from the Midwest where they were not raised to have bad attitudes. I’m not sure what it is about moving here that makes people go from courteous to crass. The apathy in customer service is systemic in many of the bars and restaurants. And it was on full display at Pho King Kitchen. The cashier acted as if she was doing me a favor by taking my order. At no time was she remotely pleasant. Simple requests like asking for extra beef was met with groans.

I am making a big deal of this for two reasons:

1) No matter how good the pho is, restaurateurs are in the service industry. Bad service means no customers. No customers means no business.

2) The pho at Noodles Ranch is excellent, but it’s the happy demeanor of the owner that makes the experience worthwhile.

Pho is meant to be savored. Unlike fast-food, it is eaten slowly so it can be appreciated. At Pho King, I was off-put by the service that I should have ordered the bowl for takeaway. It is possible that the cashier was having a bad day but it is more likely, given the location of the restaurant, that this was another example of Scottsdale snobbery.

Overall

Pho great.

Service: pho-king terrible.

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