Cheap Eats 2011: Present
Comments () | Published August 16, 2011
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Present
Address: 6678 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: 703-531-1881
Neighborhood: Falls Church
Cuisines: Vietnamese
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Thursday 11 to 3. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5 to 10. Open for lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday 11 to 11, Sunday 11 to 10.
Price Range: Inexpensive
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes A hash of clams served in a giant sesame shell; any of the masterful soups, including the Sour Spicy Seafood; a rendition of “shaky” beef called Cow on the Open Field, tossed in a complex and zingy sauce; banh xeo.

You can get a good lotus salad or bowl of pho at many a Vietnamese restaurant. But a pork-and-prawn-filled spring roll encased in a handmade lattice of rice-flour batter or a shrimp salad in an intricately carved pineapple? That's unique to Gene Nguyen's lovely, waterfall-lined dining room. The plates aren't just pretty--the attention to detail shows up in the ingredients and cooking, too. A beautifully balanced green-papaya salad is set apart by threads of jerkied liver, and a mound of fried rice is dotted with lump crabmeat. If you're new to the cuisine, this is a good place to start. Servers are warm and frank, explaining the virtues of, say, caramelized pork ribs over caramelized pork slices.

Also good: Vermicelli bun with grilled pork; tamarind duck; shaky beef; fried shrimp.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 08/16/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews