Best Pho - 2006
Pho Nam Do
The legendary 1985 cult film Tampopo searches for the perfect bowl of soup. A contemporary remake could easily find heaven in a bowl of pho at this tiny eatery that's staffed by a superfriendly, always-smiling family. The liquor-license-less joint serves a few other dishes besides pho, but we haven't sampled them in years -- once we became addicted to Pho Nam Do's perfectly appointed Vietnamese beef noodle soup, there was no reason to. A few other Vietnamese restaurants specialize in this radical meal-in-itself, popular as a hearty breakfast back home, but none does it better. The hearty beef stock with just a hint of star anise is unbelievably yummy, the flat, chewy noodles are never sticky, and the thin slices of beef (or tripe and tendon if you're an adventurous sort) are only-just-barely cooked to perfection by the boiling broth. Bean sprouts, culantro, basil leaves, and chili peppers go on top, and then you're set with the most nourishing bowl of goodness imaginable. Our climate doesn't always make hot soup a first-thought favorite, but pho fans are everywhere. Hear that slurping sound?