2 buttons immediately after our experience, then downgraded to 24 hours AFTER our meal

Snapshot for the basis of the 2 button ranking:

Pho Hoa, 3000 Central Ave, Ste 1, CharlotteNC 28205

menu options – this had THE BEST menu – it had pictures AND descriptions, was easy to navigate and the prices were just right (everything less than $10)
quality of food –seemed fresh, looked fresh, tasted fresh
presentation– plates looked nice
end to end experience/ value and service – we loved the no frills, fast, efficient service. we had drink and summer rolls within five minutes of sitting down. Entrees came shortly thereafter
What would have made this a four button?  We each had Pho and both agreed it wasn’t missing the usual pizzazz that pho typically has.  It was a very bland, somewhat flavor neutral pho. Our favorite phos are rich in a wide variety of flavors and this was weak compared to what we expect from pho.  The summer rolls were perfectly delicious and the GutBandit ordered Vietnamese Milk Coffee, which was truly wonderful.  It was gritty, dark yet sweet.

This may be the BEST introduction to a review EVER!!!

Doug racing to be the first one in the restaurant...

Doug flying in through the door. Nice shorts Dougie. Special thanks to his boyfriend Blake who got them for his Birthday!

The Menu Cover


Menu items were numbered with pictures and brief descriptions for easy ordering.

Vietnamese Milk Coffee - The GutBandit sincerely recommends trying. It is similar to cafe con leche, but the flavor is much darker and richer.

Spring Rolls arrived VERY quickly and were quite delicious.

Wow, how did those summer rolls disappear so quickly?

66 years young and look at that beaming smile! He couldn't wait to dig in. The summer rolls were gone in about 30 seconds.

The main event has arrived. Doug takes a deep breathe and prepares to begin inhaling. Phở Tái, Nạm, Gầu, Gân, Sách (Noodle soup with steak, flank, tendon, tripe, and fatty flank)

GutBandit's arrives...MMMM. Phở Bò Viên (noodle soup with meatballs only)

So at this point, something really strange happened.  We both unpeeled wooden chopsticks from paper covering.  I took my first bite and swore that the chopsticks tasted like bleach.  A server noticed us talking about it (Doug agreed) and then brought us wooden chopsticks.  Luckily, the wooden chopsticks didn’t taste like bleach, but it was a rather disgusting experience.  Does that mean that the plastic chopsticks are cleaned and reused?   Is there an entire industry around this?  We sucked it up and continued eating.

Here is Doug using the bleachy chopsticks. The bleach chopsticks were wrapped in paper (see it next to the spoon?)

Our start to finish experience was great – good coffee, summer rolls, service, the soup was okay, not horrible.  We forgot about the bleach chopsticks.

On the way out, Doug used the bathroom and conducted an inspection. I know this is a blog for eaters, but Doug and I have this theory that if the bathrooms in a restaurant aren’t clean, it exemplifies a larger problem.  At this point, we should’ve known what was about to come…

He couldn't resist taking a picture of the bathroom he deemed disgusting. For anyone who is interested, newspapers are available in the bathroom.

We paid our bill at the register and noticed a 92.0 Sanitation ranking (which is the lowest we have both ever seen). Within 24 hours, Doug and I were both sick. Doug has been here many times and some good friends come here quite often, neither have had a poor experience.  We both vow to never return. If we hadn’t gotten sick, we may have come here quite often.

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