Picture a high-school cafeteria with a couple of photographs on the walls for decoration, and you have a rough image of these pho parlors. You receive a menu the second you sit down; if you know what you want, you can order right then and have your soup in a matter of minutes.
The soup is why people flock here—a big, piping-hot bowl of beef broth filled with rice noodles and your choice of meats: eye-of-round steak, well-done flank, brisket, soft tendon, meatballs, bible tripe, any or all of the above. Seasoning a bowl of pho is personal—you can choose among basil, lime, jalapeños, fish sauce, plum sauce, and Sriracha hot sauce. Many Vietnamese diners enjoy a bowl at 9 am, when the restaurant opens, with a minipot of strong house coffee served with sweetened condensed milk. The fresh lemonade (salty or sweet) is a standout here, as is the addictive bean pudding with sweet rice to take home for dessert.
There are now seven Pho 75 locations, including two in Philadelphia, but the best three are the oldest: Rosslyn, Langley Park, and Falls Church. In Rosslyn you’ll see 20 years’ worth of Washingtonian Cheap Eats awards on the wall—make that 21.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.