If you’re one of the lucky few that are planning a Valentine’s Day Date, look no further than Pho DC in Chinatown.
We stumbled upon this Vietnamese gem last weekend while looking for Rita’s Italian Ice (which, by the way, is CLOSED for the winter – what the what?!?).
After having our ice dreams dashed, we walked up the block looking for something to eat/somewhere to cry when my date stopped short and asked if I had ever had Pho – which is pronounced “f-uh,” not “faux.”
I hadn’t, so we climbed the four steps up to the well-lit and sophisticated restaurant and the rest is history.
I ordered Spicy Satay Pho Tai, which is basically a lot of broth mixed with chili paste, thinly sliced beef, cooked onions and thin rice noodles. You get to use chopsticks to scoop the noodles and stuff into this awesome mini-ladle. It was tough, but it got easier as the night progressed. My date had Spicy Pho Shrimp, which actually had a good amount of shrimp. The only annoying thing was that the tails had not yet been removed. Both dishes came with little bowls of basil, bean sprouts and lime that could be added to the soup.
The real winners were the sauces: one spicy orange sauce that tasted like sriracha on steroids, and one sweet brown sauce that was like a thicker, sweeter soy sauce. These were magical when added (in small dollops) to the spoonfuls of noodles.
We also tried Vietnamese Coffee, which is really rich coffee that has condensed milk at the bottom. You can stir the milk until the coffee reaches its optimum level of sweetness and pour it over ice if you wish (we wished, and it was delicious).
This place had it all – great music, wonderful food, fun atmosphere. It was also really easy to get to – just a couple of blocks from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop. Pho DC is pho-sho one of the best places you can have Valentine’s Day dinner (or anti-Valentine’s day dinner) this weekend!