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Found 97 results

  1. Pho Nom Nom, out Rockville Pike is a bit of a drive but so worth it. Best Pho around!
  2. I just realized that I should add this-An excellent Vietnamese restaurant in old town Fairfax (right next to Havabite Eatery, old school Italian/Greek/homey, also very good). We went here last Sunday w/ a group of 6, since it was cloudy & cool, we went for pho. 1 beef, 3 chicken, loads of spring rolls (don't judge) & chicken & veg for my Mom who is doing a whole 30 (& driving me mad w/ her queries about the miniscule amount of sugar in sauce?). i think this is the 3rd or 4th time I've eaten here & it is wonderful-great food, great service. This is the first time we ended our meal w/ sticky rice pudding topped w/ coconut cream & sesame seeds, & mango slices (gratis). It was the perfect choice for a celebratory lunch & I look forward to more meals here.
  3. It's hard to believe Teaism closed a year ago. The new tenant - Sunday in Saigon - is still in the slow/soft opening phase, but we had a very pleasant and flavorful meal at the bar last Friday. They were quite busy and it was on the later side, so an item or two wasn't available. They currently have a short but interesting beer menu - including several Hitachino selections and a rice beer from Colorado on draft, along with a few specialty cocktails and wines by the glass. There is also a several-bottle Enomatic station, for which wines were still being selected at the time of our visit. We were told customers will be able to purchase a card and make their own selections shortly. There is nothing on the menu from Caphe Banh Mi (they share the same owners). We started with the Chinese sausage and shrimp roll with egg, jicama, and carrot - a nice change from the standard rolls you find a lot of places. We were quite happy with the Huế noodle soup ( Bún bò Huế) and the grilled eggplant stir-fried with pork and shrimp (cà tím nướng). The noodle soup included pork hock which had been soaked in coconut milk and cooked separately with a variety of spices (I hope I'm getting the details right). I'm not normally one to gnaw on skin/rinds, but was very glad that I was encouraged to do so - the flavor was incredible. If you prefer, you can order the soup without the hocks. The eggplant was generous, well-prepared and seasoned, if a touch oily for me. A nearby diner ordered the deep-fried whole red snapper - it was an attention-getter, but also looked like something I'd order next time out. The menu has a variety of dishes, with prices ranging from $8 for a few smaller dishes to $28 for the snapper, with lots of options in between. The space has been somewhat reconfigured from the previous Teaism layout (bar moved, some interior features removed, fun custom wallpaper installed, entrance shifted). The room has a nice ambiance (as it did before). My - the owner and chef - is very much involved in every aspect of the operation, from the interior design (and exterior - the umbrellas over the patio tables are stunning!) to the recipes. They will be serving brunch soon, too. I hope they see crowds at Sunday in Saigon similar to their other business, which is always packed. I'm not a Vietnamese food expert but the care and attention that have gone into both places is evident. I'm happy to support another tasty, local, woman-owned business in the former location of one of my other favorites that fits that description!
  4. One of Jorma Kaukonen’s favorite restaurants (on Arlington Blvd., but not quite Arlington, VA).
  5. When crawfish are in season, it's tough to go a week without heading out for a few pounds, and this weekend we set out early for lunch at what may be the most well-known of Houston's Viet-Cajun joints, Crawfish and Noodles. C&N has hosted Zimmern, Chang, and god knows who else, and they are clearly aware of their celeb-status, with t-shirts for sale prominently displayed as you walk in. That kind of hubris is typically not a great sign, and I have to admit approaching the rest of my visit as though I were cross-examining a hostile witness. C&N held its own, and while I didn't leave with a "We've Got Crabs" t-shirt (I mean, really), I can dig the food they're putting out. We started with an order of honey-garlic chicken wings, as requested by the 4-year old. He fell in love with the "Viet wings" at Cajun Kitchen, and hasn't stopped talking about them for weeks since. C&N's wings were solid, though I think we should have ordered the "Fish sauce" version for a more direct comparison. These were a bit too sweet for my tastes, with no heat. There are a variety of noodles and soups to choose from, and we went with the stir-fried rice noodle with mixed seafood. This is a hefty portion, with onion, celery, carrot, and crispy shallots mixed with shrimp, (chewy) squid, and fish balls, with a peppery sauce on the side ready to be mixed in. Delicious, and devoured quickly, but if we had to go head to head, we all agreed the crabby garlic noodles from Cajun Kitchen might edge out a win. The crawfish delivered. Choices are limited to spice level (though an intriguing "ginger grass" option is listed as being available at some point in the future). Medium is Houston-medium, which is to say, probably "hot" if you're coming from somewhere else. We opted for medium with a side of "hot" dipping sauce, and I would heartily recommend this combo. For the spice-loving but not super-spicy friends, the medium mudbugs alone are perfect. For those of us who prefer to see God when we eat, you can drag the tail through the sauce and get it done. Compared to the purely Cajun versions I grew up with (and have had at Houston places like The Boot in the Heights), these have a more pronounced garlic and citrus flavor. Priced at $10/lb, these were also the most expensive I've had thus far. Note on wait times: We got there just before noon on Sunday, and were 1 of 5 or 6 tables there. 30 minutes later there was a line out the door.
  6. I spent all day feeling terrible and craving soup, so when N came home we wandered over to 18th to try out Ben Tre, which apparently opened in August. I've been craving canh chua for weeks now, and I already knew that Pho 14's version doesn't really do it for me. But, man, did I score tonight! The soup hit all the high notes- sweet, sour, spicy- with yummy bits of pineapple and lots of tomato. There were little puffy bits of pork belly in there, too, and okra and pepper flakes. It was amazing and perfect. The shrimp toast appears to be shrimp paste, on toast, and then the whole thing appears to be battered and then deep fried. 3 pieces to an order. It is both good, and a little horrifying. N had a spicy beef soup which was also really tasty, but not what I wanted. Which was fine, because I was blissfully happy with my own soup. Now that I have found this place, I may be here at least once a week, it's a 5 minute walk from home.
  7. I was down at the GRB Convention Center this afternoon to pick up my bib for the marathon tomorrow, and stopped into Huynh for what was meant to be a quick lunch. I never thought about it until today, but Vietnamese food is an excellent choice for "carb-loading" before a race. Lots of rice/rice noodle dishes, and limited amounts of fat. Clearly many of my running compatriots had thought about such things before, as the restaurant was packed, with a 30 minute wait. The 4-year old and I shared orders of banh uot thit nuong and banh uot tom chay, rice paper wraps filled with grilled pork and crushed dried shrimp respectively. The pork wrap is served as a wrap with herbs and lettuce along for the ride, while the crushed shrimp is more of a loosely folded affair, topped with crisp fried onions. Light and carby. I wanted rice, but the boy demanded noodles, so we settled on bun tom nuong (rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp). As long as the protein is well-grilled, bun is pretty hard to screw up, but the well-seasoned, snappy-but-moist shrimp served atop our tangle of noodles kicks up Huynh's version a couple notches above the standard. Of course, while preparing for a marathon in the hot and humid Houston weather, one shouldn't neglect electrolyte replenishment, and the chanh muoi (salty lemonade) made with pickled lemons (or limes?) hit the spot. Let the rest of the country gorge themselves on plates of pasta. In Houston, we'll stick with Huynh.
  8. Crawfish season is just getting underway here in Houston, and today's visit to Cajun Kitchen marked our first batch. We opted for the "Fatass Number 1" combination. 3 pounds of crawfish (still pretty small this early in the season), a half-pound of head-on shrimp, and a generous section of snow crab legs, plus some potatoes and corn. Market price was $56 today, including the $2 upcharge for the "Kitchen Special" spicing on the boil (which appears to include orange slices, generous amounts of garlic and ginger, onions and peppers. Totally fair, I think, given the amount of seafood you get, but YMMV. We got "medium" spice on the boil, planning to share with the boys, but be forewarned that "medium" is pretty damn spicy. The shrimp and crab are clearly added after the crawfish are tossed in the spice, and were mild enough to share with kids. Aside from the boiled seafood, the garlic noodles and Viet-spiced chicken wings were winners with the whole table. The noodles are fairly thick, tossed in a garlic sauce, and topped with ample amounts of sweet lump blue crab meat and crispy fried shallots. The wings veer toward the sweet side, with a nice backbone of funky fish sauce. There are big screen TVs all around the dining room, and cheap domestic beers available...This could be a great place to spend an afternoon watching a baseball game come Spring.
  9. I am not a huge fan of pho, but my wife and son are, so we have eaten at Pho and Grill in Olney many times. (They have a restaurant in Gathersburg too, I think). The pho is very good, and a huge bowl (according to my wife and son). I ordered the grilled steak on a salad that was also huge and very good. Summer rolls were excellent, with a nice dipping sauce. Prices are very good. The folks are friendly and efficient. The dining room is pleasant, clean, but nothing fancy. You order at the counter and the food is brought to you (so be sure to leave something in the tip jar.) Last night the place was packed and our meal still showed up quickly. They also do a pretty big carry out business it would appear. Prices are very good. Two orders of rolls, two orders of Pho, the grilled steak, and a bubble tea (also good) came to under $42.
  10. Lemongrass Food Truck Banh Mi is lackluster. The roast pork has the red sheen that Asian roast pork typical has, but I'm going to assume its just food coloring, because otherwise the pork has little flavor. The pickled carrot and daikon just tastes sweet. The roll is supermarket quality similar to something you can buy at Giant or Safeway. At least the cilantro is fresh. At $8 it's not worth the money. Sorry for the crappy photo.
  11. Eden Center's Facebook page was promoting this restaurant with 7 menu items (no appetizers), claiming it received rave Yelp reviews for its Pho and Bun Bo Hue. Yes, there were 2 Yelp reviews and both were glowing. So I went to check our their Bun Bo Hue. It came with a big plate of herbs, which is a good sign. They seem to use a different type of sliced sausage, so that could've been made in house. The broth was pretty tasty. I didn't think it was necessarily better than Rice Paper or Pho Hai Duong but for people who want to try something new, this place is worth checking. Strangely, they accept credit card but didn't let me tip on the cc slip. There's no tip line. So I left some cash.
  12. Happy to report that Pho Binh's location in the Heights offers "The Original" banh mi (off menu, but advertised on signs around the restaurant & on the cash register), which is essentially a cold-cut and paté sandwich. Grabbed one the other day for lunch. You're going to have a hard time finding a better way of spending $5.50 for lunch elsewhere in the city. Fantastic on its own, the flavors popped that much more with an easy shake of fish sauce and a thin line of Sriracha. I can also vouch for the lemongrass beef banh mi and the pork/spring roll bun. I am slightly embarrassed that I have yet to try the pho, especially considering the possibility of the roasted bone marrow add-on. Soon...soon.
  13. Great lunch today at Nam Eatery in the Heights. This is a clean (both in terms of sanitation and in decor), brightly lit joint with an unfortunate "umsa-umsa" dance music soundtrack playing. We had just finished a school tour with the 3-year old, and despite the hot & humid weather, he opted for the child's-sized pho with meatballs and a homemade passion fruit limeade. The pho was a great size (I would love to be able to order that size so I could sample other dishes), and comes out bare, ready to be dressed at the "pho vegetables" station up front (complete with hoisin and a few different chili and sauce options). I'd give the broth a 7/10. Light and clear, but with a reasonable depth of flavor. I look forward to comparing and contrasting with other places around town. The limeade was delicious, and I'll have to dig deeper into the long list of fruit teas and smoothies they offer. My banh mi with house paté and 2 over easy fried eggs was great, made even better with a schmear of smoky chili paste taken from the sauce selection. The baguette was appropriately light and crispy. I originally ordered the "combination," with steamed pork roll and cold cuts, but they no longer serve it because "no one ever ordered it." For shame, Houstonians. For shame. Cristina's "shaking tofu" vermicelli bowl was fantastic, with nicely fried cubes of tofu, sautéed onion and halved garlic cloves, along with the typical vegetable accompaniments. The fish sauce accompaniment was delicious, though a little less acidic than I'm used to. Not a complaint, just an observation. A shared shrimp "spring roll" was a fresh, herb-packed roll I've more often seen called a "summer roll," served with the standard peanut sauce for dipping. Nothing life-changing here, but a fine rendition. Given its proximity to our new house, Nam will assuredly be in the rotation, and I look forward to further exploring the menu. (Also, bring back the combination banh mi! I'll order it.)
  14. Inspired by this, a query: Where's the best Bún Chả in the D.C. area? I've had plenty of decent but mediocre versions, and would love to know where it really stands out.
  15. Has anyone eaten at Lotus Grill and Noodles in Shirlington? It's been open for 3 years, but I haven't heard anything about it.
  16. Have to disclaim that I am related to one of the co-owners, but Roll Play Vietnamese Grill is currently soft opening in Tysons Corner. It's located at the intersection of International Drive and Leesburg Pike in the same office building as the Healthy Back store and Peet's Coffee. It's located right by the entrance of the parking garage. Its ordering system is a bit like Sheetz and Wawa; you order at three kiosks located in the front of the store, and then you either pay with credit at the kiosk or take the receipt to pay with cash at the pick up area. You pick from several different options, including pho, banh mi, spring rolls or a bowl and then customize it with a choice of protein, veggies, sauce and other fixings. There are several side items such as mini crispy spring rolls, small size pho and a papaya salad as well. I ordered a pork belly and lemongrass steak banh mi with all the fixings and added an egg as well. I also got a side order of crispy mini spring rolls and a side beef pho. My son ate the pho, but the tastes that I had were definitely beefy and aromatic as a pho should be. The banh mi was stuffed to the gills with pork belly, steak, and all my selected vegetables in a medium soft roll. While the egg I ordered it with was not runny, the overall flavor was meaty with a crunch of pickled and fresh veggies. The crispy mini spring rolls were great, their fillings were meaty but they were not too oily. Their drinks are also interesting. They have a young coconut drink which is a whole coconut opened on the spot, a house-made limeade, vietnamese iced coffee and a Puck's soda fountain. I enjoyed the coconut drink the most because of the novelty drinking from a coconut and the fact that you can also eat the coconut meat afterwards. Overall, I enjoyed Roll Play, and while it definitely "Chipotle-izes" vietnamese food, I think the flavors are solid and the concept is interesting. I was invited and received the food for free because of the family connection, so I can't comment on the overall value. However, I thought the food and drinks had great flavor and are worth a stop if you're in the area.
  17. I haven't been there yet, but I recently learned of a new restaurant in Wheaton called BeClaws. They bill themselves as Cajun fusion. People on my neighborhood listserv seem to like it, for whatever that's worth. Has anyone been?
  18. There's a part of Bailey's Crossroads that's so far west on Columbia Pike that it's almost in Lake Barcroft - the "Welcome to Bailey's Crossroads" sign is further east on Columbia Pike - but there's an interesting little pocket of ethnic restaurants here, one of which is tucked a half-block off of Columbia PIke, on Courtland Street: the tiny Vietnamese restaurant, Phở Ngọc Hưng. Although this looks like a Phở house, it both is and it isn't: When you walk in, it has the typical setup, with Sriracha, plum sauce, napkins, and white plastic spoons on each table, but the menu is much more extensive. This is usually a giveaway that the soup is going to take a back seat to the rest of the items (Phở-only houses have a tendency to make better soup). However, this restaurant is somewhat unique, in several ways: * The Phở here is better than average, with a very beefy broth with the AITB (All-Important-Telltale-Bubbles) floating on top of the bowl. * The soup uses a lot of aromatics, but seems not to depend on a starter mix for its base. * There are seven beers on offer. * This is the only restaurant I've come across with a "Super Bowl" ($10.95); most places only have small and large. * There is precisely one dessert on offer: tiramisu, of all things. * Both the Phở and the other Vietnamese dishes seem to be better than average here. * Since there are other entrees served here, the quality of the beef itself in the soup is much higher than the norm. I waited a surprisingly long time for my order to be taken (usually, you're approached within 15 seconds), but once it was, the service was very friendly - English language might be a barrier here, so be patient with the service staff. A large bowl of #17 Phở Tái Nạm Gầu ($8.50) had a broth that was thick and unctuous, with surprisingly high-quality beef, and aromatic spices (most likely star anise) that were present on the nose but didn't carry over onto the palate. A judicious application of Sriracha and plum sauce helped add a little kick (it's rare when I add no sauces at all, but it happens at the very best of places; this is just below that). Having a pretty good feeling about the food here, I decided to get an order to-go for later in the day: a #56 Cơm Gà Xào Sả ớt ($9.95), Stir-Fried Chili Lemongrass Chicken - and this is critical - with Thigh instead of Breast (you have your choice). The thigh meat here is exceptional, and although the dish looks like a standard Chinese Chicken and Broccoli carryout, it's anything but - dressed in a light-bodied brown sauce spiked with chili and lemongrass, it's medium-spicy at most, and both the broccoli and the chicken had received full penetration, making it a really simple, but tasty entree. The rice (which I just dumped on the bottom) was unnecessary, but came in handy even later in the day. Most people think Bailey's Crossroads ends with Full Kee, but don't forget this little hamlet of ethnicity, about a half-mile west on Columbia Pike - it's an interesting pocket, and for the adventurous eater, worth a look.
  19. I have a bit of an obsession with restaurants inside of grocery stores, mainly due to the convenience of being able to get food and groceries in one trip. I first tried I Love Pho (stylized with a heart emoji), inside the Laurel Super Best, for this reason. After many takeout meals from here, however, I feel strongly that their Bun Thit Nuong is worth a trip on its own. The grilled pork is fantastic every time, nicely charred but still tender and flavorful even after the trip home. Rounding out the dish are the usual vermicelli, lettuce, sprouts, Thai basil, cucumber, carrots, radish, peanuts, and a solid nuoc cham. All of the elements blend together wonderfully (chewy, crunchy, sweet, sour, caramelized, smoky), but all highlighting the meat as the star of the dish. The rest of the menu ranges from slightly below average to solid. The rice that came with the grilled pork chop entree was so bad the one time I tried it (dry and stale) that I've been put off from ordering any of their other rice dishes since. The pork chop itself was good, however, and they also do a pretty good Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodles) and Bo Kho (vietnamese beef stew). The Pho itself was not great, but in fairness I was pretty sick that day and the soup didn't stay hot on the way home in cold weather. I'm curious whether the soup dishes are improved much by dining in. Prices are in the $8-10 range for entrees. They also do banh mi, spring/summer rolls, and bubble tea.
  20. Last week, I got this tweet from Jonathan Copeland: Although I had largely forgotten about it, somewhere in the recesses of my brain, it resided, because I was thirty-minutes early for an appointment in Falls Church today, and - <blink> - I remembered. I didn't remember who sent it, and I didn't remember the name of the restaurant; merely that someone I trusted had mentioned good Banh Mi in Eden Center - I pulled in. I wasn't at all sure which restaurant it was, and there has been *so much* changeover in this shopping center in the past six months that Saigon West is borderline unrecognizable. I waffled a bit, then headed into Banh Ta, and as soon as I walked in, I thought to myself, 'This *must* be the place.' Banh Ta is a tiny little pillbox boutique, just a few stores down from the outstanding Thanh Son Tofu, which has the best tofu I've found in the DC area. Despite being just a counter, it's very upscale looking, with market goods and an atmosphere that reminds me of a smaller version of the incredible Phu Quy Deli Delight. If you haven't been to Thanh Son Tofu or Phu Quy Deli Delight: GO! I ordered a #1, Pork Belly (Bah Mi Thit ??, $4), the ?? being on the sign in the first link in the previous paragraph, and absolutely indecipherable by me and my illiterate Vietnamese (my apologies to native speakers - any guidance will be much appreciated). It's no secret that I haven't exactly been blown away by DC-area Banh Mi - in fact, the only ones I've had that I even consider "good" have been somewhat Americanized (Dickson Wine Bar and the underrated and under-appreciated Ba Bay). Until today, that is. Thanks to Jonathan's recommendation, I've now had what I believe to be the first authentic Banh Mi that I can say, with my European-influenced palate, and with an absolutely clear conscience, is *really, really good*! You don't even need a second one to fill up on, as the size is ample, so both qualitatively and quantitatively, we have ourselves a front runner in the local Banh Mi wars - you could say, if you valued bad puns more than honorable use of language, that this Banh Mi, won me. These three storefronts in Eden Center are less than 100 yards away from each other, and justify a special excursion to experience. I am - *finally* - sold on the merits of this sandwich, and I suspect that in Vietnam, it gets even better than this. Absolutely initialized in Italic in the East Falls Church section of the Virginia Dining Guide, and I'm very much looking forward to a repeat visit, thanks to the recommendation of Jonathan Copeland.
  21. I have. (Picking up a hungry 18-year-old after tennis practice at Woodson can result in the need for quick meals - I was here in the Spring of 2015, and don't remember loving it.) To the best of my knowledge, this is a standalone Pho house - there's another Pho Duong in Centreville, and a Pho Hai Duong in Annandale, and I don't think either are under the same ownership. If we have any Vietnamese speakers here, perhaps you could tell us what these words mean, and help us sort through this?
  22. We went to Lotus Cafe a long time ago and it was just okay then, no better than any others in the area and Pho 75 was tops at that time. But we just had the opportunity to try out a fairly new restaurant in Wheaton on Wednesday, and I had the best Pho I have had in a long time. The broth was incredibly beef-y and flavorful. Check it out and let me know if you agree, Thomas P. (Summer rolls were tasty as well) Cam Ranh Bay Pho and Grill It's located in half the building that used to house Good Fortune, on Univ. Blvd. (The other half is a Chinese restaurant.)
  23. ArlNow reports that Pho Deluxe is planning to open on Sunday, July 5, 2015. Address is 2300 Clarendon Blvd (in Courthouse Plaza).
  24. Tucked away in a strip mall in Centreville is, what I consider to be, a very solid Pho place. I've been there a few times over the last few months and its been solid every time. I haven't explored the menu that much, essentially stuck to the pho but since it is only 7 or 8 bucks a bowl it hits a certain price point. If you are in the area, and are in the mood for a quick, cheap lunch - give them a try.
  25. (Truth of the matter is that I went to check on the replacement for Gamasot, and it is still boarded up, external glass papered over, neon sign overhead removed, and no activity or progress noted....) But while I was there, Saigon Quan caught my eye. On a chilly day in February, what would be better than a bracong bowl of pho? The interior is nice, certainly not a typical pho restaurant, but maybe because it isn't a typical pho restaurant. This place has a menu almost the size of Four Sisters. I ordered the cha gio rolls and a bowl of beef combo 1 with added meatballs ($1.50 upcharge). The cha gio were a bit on the greasy/oily side, but I enjoyed the taste of the stuffing....so, rather than critique the rolls for being greasy, I am instead wondering how good they could have been if the A Team was working the fryer. (This visit was, after all, around 3pm on a Monday afternoon.) I'll have to check it out on a subsequent prime time visit. The pho was really good, with a very pleasant umami in each slurp. One difference between this version and others I've enjoyed is that the condiments contained all the usual suspects like a lime wedge, jalapeno slices, basil and sprouts, but also included a long leaf with a nice licorice flavor. I asked the server what it was and he said "coo-lantro" which I think he meant to be cilantro. I had never seen it in a long thin leaf before, but wow, did it liven up the broth nicely. I'll have to return and give it another spin. Definitely worth a visit for decent Vietnamese in the Springfield area.