Cheap Eats 2009: Pho 75 – Rockville

Great food, low prices, lots of fun

Why go: These cafeteria-style pho parlors are short on variety and long on quality. That’s because they emphasize one dish—the elixir-like Vietnamese beef soup, a marvelous concoction of anise-perfumed broth, a tangle of rice noodles, and an array of beef cuts all floating in a bowl.

What to get: Pho with fatty brisket, flank steak, or meatballs, or with various bits of offal (numbers 3, 5, and 9); fresh-squeezed lemonade and lemon soda; dark Vietnamese coffee with sweetened condensed milk to drink hot or cold as dessert.

Best for: Anyone with a cold—not for nothing is pho called Vietnamese penicillin—or in need of a pick-me-up.

Insider tip: A regular-size bowl is more than enough for the average diner. Squirts of fish and hoisin sauce, leaves of holy basil and mint, and a spritz of lime—thin-sliced onions are available for 50 cents, and tart sawtooth, an herb, can be had on request—all enhance the fragrance and taste.

Open daily 9 to 8.

>> See all 2009 Cheap Eats restaurants here 

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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.