|Good for Groups||Extra-Cheap|
In this era of abbreviated communications, here’s one to remember: M9. That’s the designation on the menu at this quick Vietnamese cafe for a gigantic bowl of egg-noodle soup. Don’t bother with the thin strips of beef massed near the top—this is not about the meat. It’s not even about the tangle of egg noodles, which have great spring. It’s about the broth, a tongue-coatingly rich extraction of beef fortified with dried shrimp. Voilà—surf and turf in liquid form! Mi La Cay is no one-hit wonder. You’ll also find the best bánh mì outside of Falls Church and a slew of small, simple plates that deliver unexpectedly big flavor—lacquered quail with lime dip, say, or tightly bundled grape leaves packed with beef, onions, and black pepper and plucked hot from the grill.
Also good: Cold-cut bánh mì; egg noodles Phnom Penh with soup on the side; bun bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup); iced Vietnamese coffee.