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Pho Point Loma & Grill

2788 Midway Drive, Midway District

Here’s the text of the recommendation that came in for Pho Point Loma & Grill (2788 Midway Drive):

“Dude! Goooood!”

Yeah. That’s five o’s of good. With a sign that obscures the surrounding night sky through sheer brightness, lighting a beacon in the neon darkness of bail bond-and-strip club-saturated Midway, it’s not hard to home in on Pho Point Loma & Grill to put all five o’s-worth of endorsement to the test.

Sign literally dominating the night sky

Sign literally dominating the night sky

The restaurant does two things better than anything else.

The first thing is beer specials. $2.49 for a glass of Ballast Point Sculpin? $1.49 for a Kirin? Yes, please!

The second thing is scary-fast service. An army of servers, runners, bussers, and hosts arrive to take orders and run food with wild alacrity. One can scarcely sit without being accosted by energetic staff demanding drink orders.

Part of that may be because the restaurant, which claims to be Point Loma’s first Vietnamese restau, brings in all kinds of customers. There are plenty of families, who need to be served quickly since kids can burst into tears at a moments notice. But there are also parties of friends meeting and setting up computers, as though it were a coffee shop. Pho Point Loma & Grill (which is quite a cumbersome name, given the superfluous ampersand) also attracts a large amount of couples, some of whom practice the most perverse dining habit of all — sitting next to each other in a booth.

Why does this happen?  Look at tall the real estate across from this young couple!

Why does this happen? Look at tall the real estate across from this young couple!

No logic justifies this practice. Why sit next to each other when acres of space remains unfilled across the table? Who thinks, “I could easily sit across from my partner and gaze into her eyes, but I will instead sit right next to her so that we have to look sidewards for the duration of a meal, perhaps even jostling elbows over table space?”

Pho Point Loma & Grill’s eponymous soup makes use of a clear, refined broth, ripe with the aroma of star anise and ginger. It’s pungent, but more aromatic than heady. A very good broth for those who prefer to augment their own soups with sauces, herbs, and those satanic peppers that disguise themselves as jalapeños in order to sear the mouths of incautious diners. The options are countless, including the tempting the potential of ordering the broth “extra fatty,” which might push the pho more towards ramen territory. Intriguing.

There’s still no excuse for sitting side-by-each in a restaurant, however. Not when there is empty space across the table. How to lift the bowl of leftover pho broth and sip extravagantly when another’s wayward elbow could send the whole operation into cataclysmic failure? The world may never know.

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