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Kibbee Nayee

Pho 495, Behind Trader Joe's on Commerce Street in Springfield - Closed Jan 21, 2019

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On the advice of my Vietnamese barber, who knows a thing or two about Vietnamese food, I tried Pho 495 today for lunch. Emblazoned on the menu is "Best Vietnamese Noodle Soup in Northern Virginia' (or words to that effect) and I am inclined to accept that assertion.

I had the No. 1 beef combo with added meatballs, and I was very impressed. This was a deeply rich and hearty broth, easily simmered for a very long time based on how much deep flavor and complexity it displayed. It was loaded with all the basic bits and pieces -- tripe, tendon, cartilage, beef pieces and the added meatballs. I can't say that I've had any better at all the various places I've tasted pho in northern Virginia, and I'm not stretching the truth. Too bad we're nearing the kind of weather where I tend to avoid hot soups, but I know I'll be back often in the autumn, or the next time we have a raw, rainy day.

7215 Commerce Street, Springfield
www.pho495.com

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A few days ago, with a little time to kill and a hungry tummy, I stopped in Pho 495 for a small #1 -- beef soup with all kinds of beef, tendon, tripe and whatever. I dumped in the sprouts, jalapeno and basil, squirted in the plum sauce and the sriracha, and squeezed in the lime. At $6.95 with a generous $2 tip, it would be hard to imagine a more satisfyling lunch for under ten bucks in these parts....

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This place still hums along, with nice consistency. I like it that the place is usually well-represented by the local Vietnamese community, which is certainly a good sign. For me, Pho 495 compares favorably with Pho 75.

I realize Pho isn't high dining, but if they can get it right, there's tons of good umami flavor and infinite versions that can be customized with sprouts, basil, jalapeno and lime, along with hoisin and srirachi. Today I had the combination beef no. 1 with added meatballs. This is a wonderful and bracing, rib-sticking bowl of goodness for under $10. I also had the cha gio, which are just above so-so here, but they hit the spot.

This is Springfield, not Falls Church, but because of places like this one and a few others, I don't need to travel very far for a Pho fix.

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I agree with Kibbee. We had a meeting nearby (Allied Counters) where the owner strongly rec'd the pho and I recall reading about it here.  The place at lunch was packed and their pho was one of the better ones locally we have had of late.  A brisket and flank version was very good esp on a cold winter afternoon so Pho 495 was a welcome surprise.  Shredded pork spring rolls (very good) and the deep fried cha gaio (meh).

What really impressed me was the friendliness of the staff and how eager they were to hear our reaction to their pho...despite a full house. Perhaps I have become too grizzled & cynical from Tysons/Arlington/DC restaurants where servers tend to be indifferent or superficially enthusiastic about everything on the darn menu.  Imagine my surprise to have folks at Pho 495 crank out a very good pho for lunch and turn a what was expected to be a nondescript quick lunch into a really pleasant experience.

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Third the recommendation.  I've been coming here for ten years.  Great family owned place, consistently good pho.  I'd still put Pho 75 as slightly better, but this has been my go to place for ages here.  My daughters have been enthusiastic ambassadors with their high school friends and would use this place as a late night (or pre-social night) meet up.  My oldest even used the mom and the restaurant in one of her college essays, precisely because she always felt at home there.

Standard go-to for takeout when the youngest daughter is sick.

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Too bad.  It was the best in Springfield for Pho.  But what a genteel note. 

"Unfortunately, our landlord has decided on a new vision for this unit - one that no longer supports having our business here."

I can hardly wait for the new vision.

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