Best Vietnamese in DC/Nova/Mogo?
What is the best Vietnamese restaurant in Montgomery County / DC/ Northern Virginia? What we like: (1) Authentic -- not "watered down" to meet the perceived preferences of non-Vietnamese patrons; (2) Menu not limited to Pho and Bánh mì; and (3) Decent atmosphere, but does NOT need to be fancy. Thanks!
Eden Center in Falls Church is an entire conclave of Vietnamese restaurants, cafes, and businesses. You would be hard-pressed to find anything watered-down for non-Vietnamese at Eden Center; most of the customers are Vietnamese.
We're also Nha Trang fans, but the always-busy Huong Viet has an extensive menu and delivers excellent food, year after year. Rice Paper has a more upscale interior but I do not think their food is better than Huong Viet, and we felt very cramped at Rice Paper.
Huong Viet has a very extensive menu. Two stand-outs are their cha gio (best we have had, hands down), and the lotus rootlet salad. Be warned, the lotus rootlets have fine white fiber "hair" that could convince you that there is a serious sanitation issue. Their grilled meats and carmelized fish are also excellent.
My favorite meal is in Eden Center in Falls Church.
I go to Nha Trang for their special garden rolls (just ask, I don't know which ones from the menu, but they'll know), the noodle soup with "shrimp paste in the shape of worms", roast quail, and minced clams and rice in a stone pot.