Details

Present

6678 Arlington Blvd.
Falls Church, VA 22042

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

Website: http://www.presentcuisine.com

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.

100 Best Restaurants 2012: Present

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia

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The ornate, banquet-style presentations appear to be a thing of the past here, but it was never the show that endeared this Vietnamese restaurant to us. It was the cooking, which remains a feast of textural contrasts and colors brimming with popping flavors.

Few family-run ethnic restaurants possess this degree of style. With lacquered tables, ceramic floors, and a tinkling fish pond, it's ideal for a special occasion or a night of catching up with friends. The menu, which has a penchant for giving Vietnamese standards corny-sounding names, is several pages long. The staff is eager to provide guidance, but be forewarned: You're likely to be talked out of something interesting and led to more familiar dishes.

What to get: Clam-and-beef hash with garlic and ginger in a giant sesame cracker; crispy autumn rolls stuffed with pork and prawns; a crepe brimming with pork, shrimp, bean sprouts, and mint; shaky beef with lightly sautéed onions and crunchy watercress; clay pot of sliced pork or caramelized short ribs; purple-yam soup with pork and shrimp; Hanoi-style fish with dill, peanuts, and mint.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.