luminosa0 has not voted in the 2017 Bay Area A-List.
I love this restaurant and have been a customer since 1984. It is still family run..originally started by the father, who worked by day at a Jack London Square oyster bar and then ran over to run Pho 84. This was one of the 1st Viet resataurants to attract a large non-Viet clientele. As Pho 84 started to boom in success, he died unexpectedly but it was continued by his attentive, determined wife: daily management is now in the hands of their lovely daughters, who have been en scene since they were small. Nice people. But afterall, it is about the food. Their Pho used to be the end all. Over the years they shifted the garnishes a bit (used to have wonderful red leaf lettuce as a garnish for seafood pho...) and I now find their broth to heavily salted. So despite the name, that is not why I go there. But their menu features dishes I have not seen anywhere else. I get all over the Bay Area and work in San Jose, home to the region's largest Viet population. And no one has some of their dishes. There is a great range of choices and preparations. While not unique, particular dishes can be made with different protein options. They have a vegetarian pho that is quite good, and a great number of other vegetarian options that are also very excellent. But hands down I love their dishes prepared with coconut milk curry, black treeear mushrooms, bean thread noodles, onions and peanuts. Especially when the dish is made with catfish. ... good also with shrimp, and probably with chicken, beef or tofe options too. I never get past the catfish. It is a regional Viet dish and gets an A+++. There are other unique feature dishes on the menu as well. Like the quiet (at least quiet at night) side street location and mellow pleasant interior. This is a veritable East Bay dining institution. And let's hear it for continuity of management over nearly 3 decades.
I love to see live dance. I especially love to see Alonzo King's Lines, but also other live dance. I especially love to see dance in the YBCA Theater. It is about perfect. The sight lines and sound are great. The size is perfect....large enought to be able to view and savor the spaciality of a piece; small enough to feel very intimate. GREAT lighting plot, something many audience members do not actively consider as part of their viewing experience, but an element that can have astounding impact on the quality of a piece. YBCA has expert staff and great equipment and as a result the stage has fantastic lighting options...so dance looks great on that stage...so much so that in the hands of a really competent designer, the production values are substantially elevated by the lighting. Comfortable seats. Decent Box Office. Traffic flow in the lobby is....tolerable. Adequate bathrooms. I like the theater space so much I have to go for a 5* instead of 4*. Accessable parking and dining is a plus. Easy to get to from the East Bay....and most anywhere else.
Great Indian dining. I have loved this restaurant for years. The owner is a completely dear person, very hands on, very devoted to his restaurant and his customers and the continuing outstanding quality of the food and its seasonal ingredients. Folks really should sign on for his e-newsletter to see what I mean. While the various dishes are traditional, there is much more detail available about the region and customary preparation of the dish and often the owner will add his own anecdote. The menu is updated monthly to reflect changes in seasonl ingredients and other inspirations. But thankfully it is traditional and not some half-baked fusion cuisine mess. The cookbook is pretty damn excellent too, and many of the restaurant favs are in it, such as the grilled portobello mushrooms with an unbeleivable sauce made from cashews and spices....never get tired of that. Also, you won't find a tired all-u-can-eat buffet here. Prices just a bit higher than some Indian restaurants, but highly reasonable. Owner is on site most nights (except maybe some midweek evenings as I recall) and very hospitable. Many of the ingredients, particularly protein ingredients, are from local providers (such as Nieman Ranch, etc.). I have run into some of the Bay Area's most established foodies (who out of respect shall not be named...) in there, who confessed that it is a favorite dining spot. For novelty food ( Indian street food/chat snacks, etc. ) there might be other destinations; for great Indian dining at very reasonable prices, this is the spot. Need I say more???
luminosa0 has not cast any votes in the 2017 Bay Area A-List.