Best Pho

Best: Pho 75
Various locations
2nd Best: Pho Saigon
6795-1B Wilson Blvd., Falls Church (703) 677-0523
The first time I visited Pho Saigon in the Eden Center, at the urging of a Vietnamese acquaintance, I sat there listlessly over my bowl, wondering who or what was most off: my friend, my thin pho, or my tastebuds. Turns out that Pho Saigon was merely having an off day. I have since returned to the Vietnamese noodle house and have found its soups spectacular. My most recent order came swimming with thin slices of richly fatty brisket, crunchy/chewy tripe, exquisitely perfumed beef broth, and a garnish plate brimming with fresh sliced jalapeños, Thai basil, bean sprouts, and even that rare saw-toothed leaf, culantro. Pho Saigon also pays attention to the noodles in its soups; they’re soft, supple, and so easy to slurp. The tiny pho shop, overstuffed with trinkets and pictures and even boxes of kitchen supplies near the bathroom, might remind , might remind you of a crowded Vietnamese street stall if not for the overhead flat-screen TV set to the Speed Network, where racing school buses provide a little Southern redneck comfort. Yep, you get a melting pot along with your noodle soup. The truth is, if not for the dark memory of my first visit, I’d rank Pho Saigon over Pho 75, that suburban institution that consistently hits the mark at prices impossible to resist. Perhaps in 12 months that memory will finally be evaporated—by all the steaming bowls of noodle soup I plan to slurp down at Pho Saigon.
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