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Pho 75
By Phyllis C. Richman
Washington Post Restaurant Critic
From The Washington Post Dining Guide, November 1996

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| 1711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.
(703) 525-7355

Hours of Operation and Prices
Open: Daily 9 am-8 pm
Entrees: $4.25-$5

Other Information
• Cash only
• Reservations: No
• Dress: Casual
• Parking: Free lot
• Nearest Metro: Court House
• Handicapped accessible
• Pho 75 has three other locations in the Washington area:

  • 3103 Graham Rd, Unit B, Falls Church, Va., (703) 204-1490

  • 771 Hungerford Dr., Rockville, Md., (301) 309-8873

  • 1510 University Blvd. East, Langley Park, Md., (301) 434-7844

I wouldn't dream of suggesting this is the best pho restaurant in the Washington area - there are too many for me to be sure. But I can't imagine one better, and I believe it's the oldest. Most important, any list of my favorites has to include one place that serves a proper Vietnamese noodle soup.

Pho 75 is about as charming as your high school cafeteria: big and bare, with long tables and clattering dish carts. Its menu offers one dish and one dish only, pho, that long-simmered beef broth perfumed with Asian spices, the most identifiable one being star anise. But on that simple base is built a sumptuous one-dish meal. The broth - a giant "regular" bowl or an even more immense one - is packed with thin rice noodles, thickly floating sliced scallions and leaves of coriander, and further stuffed with the beef, cuts ranging from thinly sliced top round that cooks in the bowl to tendons or tripe.

Alongside comes a plate of bean sprouts, green-chili slices and lime wedges, and on the table are squeeze bottles of sweet-spicy bean sauce and hot red chili sauce. You create a soup to your own taste, adjusting the seasonings as you go along, and wind up feeling full, healthy and oh so comforted. And at under $5. You jack up the price a bit with a beverage, perhaps fresh lemonade or the dark, rich, condensed-milk iced coffee that's strong enough to keep you awake for a week. You pay at the counter as you leave, after bidding goodbye to your tablemates in Vietnamese, Spanish, English, babytalk or whatever else these varied and faithful diners happen to speak.

   
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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