Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures, so it's just my words this time.
This place is located in the center of the strip mall. When you go in you can go right or left. To the right is the restaurant. To the left is pool and billiards, some machines (video poker?) and the beginnings of a karaoke area. They're still fairly new, and it looks like the left side isn't complete yet.
Now, this is a small restaurant in a strip mall. It's a little bare bones. There's tiled carpet and the walls are pretty bare. It's a long and narrowish space, with the cash register at the back, with a big TV over it. No music. There were some tables for 4 down the middle, most of them pushed together. Tables for 2 were spaced along each side wall. The tables had napkins in a dispenser, chopsticks, straws, and condiments.
There was a kid watching a baby at the cash register when we arrived, which definitely means a family-run restaurant. In my experience, that's a good thing! A lady came out and we grabbed a seat and got menus. I had heard there's a "secret" menu for Vietnamese customers. I asked, but it's not in English. She offered to translate, but we figured since it's our first time, we'd use the regular menu.
The menu is a bit small. It's got all the basics: pho, bun, sandwiches, spring rolls, etc. I got hot jasmine tea and Frank got iced jasmine. I ordered the spring rolls, but I asked if I could get fish sauce instead of peanut sauce. I got the bun, which came with grilled pork, pork skins, maybe pork belly, and a cut up egg roll. Slightly different from my normal bun. Frank got the pork soup.
The spring rolls were really good. And Oh My God, the fish sauce!!! Finally!!! The lady brought the fish sauce out in 2 bowls, and it had garlic and peppers in it. She asked if that was what I wanted and I was like Hell Yeah! Okay, I didn't say that out loud. But I could smell the fresh garlic in it and the sauce itself. When I've gotten fish sauce at Miss Saigon Pho and Pho Thanh, it just tasted really watery. This was exactly what I was looking for and I dipped my spring roll in it like a madwoman!
My bun came out in the bowl and was also really good. It had chopped up carrots, bean sprouts, and some chopped cucumbers. But no lettuce. I was actually kind of glad. I like the bun at Miss Saigon Pho, but it seems to have a ton of lettuce in it. I poured the rest of my fish sauce over my bun and I was in hog heaven.
Frank had the pork soup and it was what he calls his normal pho. It had many thick slices of pork loin, 4 shrimp, 4 pieces of squid, and 2 quail eggs. Plenty of noodles. Parsley, bean sprouts, and lime. Frank says, "There was no basil, but I didn't miss it." There were also "no fucking jalapenos." Frank doesn't like those in his veggies. He also didn't have to add fish sauce to the soup. Overall, it was yummy.
Overall, everything was yummy. The total bill was $24. Service was a little slow at times, but it was one woman running everything and checking the kitchen. And everyone was really friendly. We will definitely be back! I'm going 4 stars and right now this is my favorite Vietnamese place in Benton County.