Cheap Eats 2011: Pho Xe Lua

A bowl of pho is a bowl of pho is a bowl of pho–or so you might think. The same tangle of packaged noodles, the same paper-thin cuts of meat, the same platter of herbs-as-condiments. So why single out this Eden Center soup parlor?

Because its oxtail-simmered broth is superior to the dozens of versions we’ve slurped down elsewhere–note the consommé-like clarity and the delicate perfume it sends up in tiny puffs of steam. The noodles, too, are an upgrade. The inclusion of pleasantly bitter sawtooth herb among the add-on pile of fresh basil, mint and bean sprouts is likewise a plus.

Also good: Bowls with well-done brisket and beef tendon or with well-done brisket and flank and eye-round steak; a bowl with just pork meatball.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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 Petworth.