Dirt Cheap Eats 2008: Pho Hot

Pho Hot (7442 Little River Tpk., Annandale, 703-333-5955; 14215-W Centreville Square, Centreville, 703-815-5210). You’ll get over the fake-flower decor in this soaring space as soon as you dip your spoon into a bowl of Vietnamese pho ($6.50 to $7.75). The hearty beef-based broth is unconventionally heavy on cloves and cinnamon and light on star anise, but it’s still complex and comforting with a bite of ginger.

While traditional protein additives such as flank steak, tripe, and tendon are offered, there’s also a fish broth with shrimp, scallops, and squid. An appetizer of rice-paper spring rolls with shrimp ($3.95) was fresh, but with 21 choices on the pho menu, there’s not much reason to venture beyond the bowl of noodles with a dash of Sriracha sauce. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.