Pho Hot -- Annandale
Polly and others were right -- this is the best pho I've had in the area. I'm a big fan of the Rockville Pho 75 -- just ate there yesterday. But this was distinctly better in several respects, especially the depth of the broth (and plenty of star anise, Polly), the fragrant saw-tooth herb, the generous cuts of meat, less gloppy noodles, the better-balanced salty lemonade, and the availability of (decent) summer rolls. And on a holiday Monday such as today, it was only a 16-minute ride from Bethesda! Plus, it's open until midnight. For those of you in NoVa, this ought to be in your regular rotation.
Must have missed you by just a little bit. Yes, this pho is impressive. A clear winner in the pho derby. As a bonus, they seem to also do a good job grilling their meats, as evidenced by a very nice bowl of grilled pork with rice noodles. FIsh sauce is a bit sweet, but a minor complaint that can be adjusted at the table.
I'm glad you all enjoyed it. We'd gone on Sunday, so a chowlunch on Monday seemed a bit excessive. The chowpup begs to go to Pho Hot these days.
Also, for anyone new to pho, their website (http://www.phohot.com/) includes reasonably detailed instructions about how to eat it, down to endorsing the two-handed method and suggesting sauce mixes.
Haven't tried the pho yet, but I will say their banh mi bo kho is quite good. My only problem with it was the selection of beef in it: they included tendon, tripe, and other cuts that I know people like and love, but I just can't stand. (I bet it's the "everything" selection of cuts you see in a pho menu.) This is probably considered a bonus by most other eaters!
The banh mi part, though, was quite good. Made me realize how much I miss Vietnamese bread.
Pho hot is the closest pho place to my house, yet I don't frequent (i.e., haven't gone there since my initial visit when they opened). I had a really poor experience. They made me wait over 20 minutes, I thougth the pho was over prices and the stock was nothing special.
However, with the comments I've been seeing, I thought why don't I go back. I went yesterday evening. Resturant is nice and clean and was about 1/3 full on a saturday evening. I sat down and ordered a regular. I think it is about $6.50 (give or take a quarter). Again they for some reason took 30 minutes to produce a bowl. 5 different groups that came in after me got served before I did. I was ready to walk out when mine showed up. Sprouts were a bit on the old side but still edible. The soup should have been hotter. It was never hot enough to wilt my sprouts, a problem in my mind. I thought the regular was slightly small in size and volume (noodles and beef was skimpy). Dispite all of this and how much I wanted to dislike this place, I have to give credit for the very nice rich full flavored broth. The broth, I am certain was not made mainly from powder or can. I was really good. I've given up comparing which is the best pho place but this certain deserves another try to determine if it should be in my places to go for pho.
You've had bad luck, Soup.
We've never waited more than 10 minutes, usually arriving between 11:30 and 1:30. On our first visit (an aborted A&J trip, when we discovered that while they serve Chinese breakfast on weekends, they don't open very early), we were quite early, probably no later than 9:30 am.
My biggest complaint is that we have to ask for the saw-tooth herb to get it, though it seems to come automatically to tables of Asian diners. Lately we've not had any trouble getting our tripe and tendon.