Monday, March 19, 2012

Pho 75

Now that the wretched season known as winter has become a distant memory I am forced to make my final rounds to sample as many soup shops as I can before the blistering summer months make one of my favorite types of food an afterthought. This takes us to Pho 75, a popular local chain that serves up bowl after bowl of this popular Vietnamese cuisine.

If you are unaware what Pho is then I would suggest you read my semi-detailed explanation here. If you are a Phonatic like me then you will surely appreciate Pho 75. With several locations across Northern Virginia Pho 75 has built a reputation of serving some of the best Pho in the DC area

(Photo via Yelp)

The d├ęcor is nothing to pout about. The two locations that I have tried closely resemble my middle school cafeteria. The plain white walls are adorned with a couple of pictures of Vietnam, the tables and chairs are purchased wholesale and each table comes with a hand full of spoons and chopsticks already there to use when your food is delivered.

But alas we are all aware of the famous saying to not judge a book by its cover and in this instance those words prove to be ring loud and clear. My first experience with this establishment came during my early days before I blogged about food and my knowledge of Pho was rudimentary at best. Now I am a bit more cultured and refined in this area of food and am constantly looking for the best Pho in the area. So it is only natural that I visit this establishment since they are constantly mentioned as having some of the best Pho.

My most recent visit came yesterday. It was a dreary overcast Sunday which is ideal weather for a piping hot cauldron of Pho. I drove across the wretched Key bridge into the nether regions known as Virginia. I tried my best to resist the cringe that engulfs just about any DC native when they cross the river but could not help shivering for a couple of seconds. I arrived at their Roslyn location as was immediately set back at what I thought was the line to Ray’s Hell Burger.

To this moment I am shocked at the line running out of the door. A combination of food deprivation, post St. Patrick's day hangover, and overcast weather made the wait unbearable at times. But within 10 minutes a table opened up and our server promptly handed us their menu which consists of 17 different variations which are served in a regular or large bowl.

It did take a bit of time to get the servers attention but we finally managed to flag him down. I decided to order the number 4 which consists of slices of round eye steak, well-done brisket, well-done flank, soft tenderloin, and bible tripe. A steaming hot bowl came out within minutes accompanied by the necessary accoutrement.

(Tai, Chin, Nam, Gan, Sach)

I methodically added the proportions of Sriracha, fish sauce, jalapenos, and bean sprouts that have taken months to master. Once my concoction was ready I began to dig in. The first thing that I noticed was how amazing the rice noodles were. The broth was also very flavorful and the various cuts of beef were superb. Each sip was as refreshing as the first and suddenly all my pains were eviscerated. I tried as mightily as I could to conquer the bowl but could not find the room to finish the entire dish.

Once we finished we took our time as Pho settled within our bodies, during which I continuously tried to stave off the food coma that was attempting to ruin my Sunday afternoon. I gathered myself after a few minutes and walked up to the register to pay. Please be advised that it is CASH ONLY which I was aware of. The total for two large bowls of Pho and two sodas came out to $20.50 which is a steal. I then returned home where I immediately succumbed to my food coma for about an hour or two which felt amazing.

All in all Pho 75 delivered on the hype. The Pho was great, the service was sub par and the atmosphere was an experience in an of itself. They have several locations around Virginia and are all cash only. It is widely popular so don't be as surprised as I was if you encounter a long line. There are a number of desserts and traditional Vietnamese drinks on the menu but no spring rolls or Banh Mi sandwiches which is a bit disappointing. I guess they do one thing good and they are sticking to it. So if you are in Virginia or are a Phonatic like myself give this place a shot and decide for yourself if they live up the hype.

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