Pho 999 is your prototypical strip mall Vietnamese restaurant. The decor can only be described as garish, but the prices are low and the service is fast. The restaurant's specialty seems to be a meal of seven courses of beef, but I can't eat that much meat.
The pho tai was about average, maybe slightly above--the broth was flavorful, tasted more of cardamon than usual, and needed a bit of lime to balance it out. The vermicelli noodles weren't stuck together in a clump--clumpy noodles are a real pet peeve of mine. My bowl was only $4.95, and as usual, you can have your pho with any combination of brisket, tendon, tripe, and rare beef.
The charbroiled beef looked more like pork when it came out due to its pale color, and it was kind of disgusting, even for $5.95. It was very thin and had a processed texture, making me feel like I was at McDonald's. I enjoyed the lightly pickled daikon strips that came on the side.
Pho 99 also serves about 20 kinds of boba shakes, with flavors ranging from banana to soursop to avocado. The shakes themselves were very good, but light on the boba, which had a hard time making it up the straw for some reason. My guess is that they're trying get the business of all the patrons who would otherwise head a few doors down for boba after their meal--hey, it worked on me.
The service is indifferent bordering on rude. Why do all Vietnamese restaurants want to take your order almost the moment you sit down? True, there aren't a lot of variations across restaurants, but I want some time to see what unique dishes might be available and think about what I'm in the mood to eat. I don't want to be rushed by being asked every 60 seconds if I'm ready to order yet.
When you're finished eating, head to the register and give them your table number to pay. Don't expect to ever see the staff again once your food has been served, and don't expect any sort of "thanks for coming in." With the mediocre food, garish decor and nonexistent service, I won't be going back.
6411 Sepulveda Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91411