Cheap Eats 2015: Pho 88

Where we get our favorite pho.

What’s the difference between a middling bowl of pho and a great bowl of pho? Not the noodles, because just about every place around uses the same packaged stuff. Not the meat, because cheap, frozen cuts are the norm. Not the herbage, because good basil can be found at many places. The broth is the thing, and the one here—a slow-simmered elixir with star anise, cinnamon, and ginger—is almost unfailingly full-bodied. Dig the pinprick-like beads of fat floating on the surface. If you have to spritz it with Sriracha and hoisin, okay, but why mess with something so good already?

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Where you can find it: 10478 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville; 301-931-8128

Also good: Pho with sliced, well-done steak and fatty brisket; pho with flank steak and tendon; pho with beef meatballs.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.