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Restaurant reviews in Tyson's and surrounding area... mostly

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pho 75 - Vietnamese PHO and only PHO in Falls Church, VA

3103 Graham Rd
Falls Church, VA
Tel: (703) 204-1490

We finally made it to one of the most famous Pho restaurants in the Northern Virginia area - Pho 75, located across from the Graham Plaza (formerly Loehmann's Plaza) in Falls Church.  The reputation of this restaurant is excellent and if you love Pho, this place is a must.  

America is in love with Pho, there is no question about it. Many sources offer statistics on the numbers of restaurants that serve Pho in the U.S. and which cities compete with the highest number of Pho eateries. Not all Vietnamese restaurants serve Pho and conversely not all Pho restaurants serve any other Vietnamese cuisine.  Even though the Washington, D.C. metro area doesn't come close to the dynamic scene of Vietnamese restaurants in areas like Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, San Jose or New York, we, in Northern Virginia are undoubtedly very lucky to have an extensive variety of excellent Vietnamese restaurants located in close proximity of whatever intersection you happen to find yourself. 

Pho 75 is no exception. There is a total of seven Pho 75 restaurants across Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania all by the same owner. The Falls Church restaurant was the second to welcome Pho eaters in Northern Virginia. It opened in 1993, after the successful operation of the Pho 75 on Wilson Blvd in Arlington. Typically, Pho restaurants say exactly what they serve in their name, and most of them add a number. We've all seen this - Just to name a few: Pho 50 in Falls Church, Nam-Viet Pho 79 in Arlington, our beloved Pho 88 in Falls Church City, and so on. There are various reasons for these numbers - some are a lucky number, some reflect the address, a meaningful event, etc. In the case of Pho 75, it is named after the year that the Vietnam War ended.

As far as Vietnamese Cuisine goes, Pho stands on its own. There is no need to be well-versed in all the deliciousness Vietnamese restaurants offer to understand the wonderfulness of Pho. It would enough to say that it is a noodle soup with your choice of meat and savory aromatic spices that are nothing short of mouthwatering.  Perhaps it is possible to make a bad Pho, but it is probably difficult! As a basic standard, Pho is typically a beef-based broth with delicate thin rice noodles, lots of cilantro and slices of various beef cuts or chicken. A plate of bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, lemon / lime wedges and mint always accompanies the Pho on the side to allow you to flavor the Pho to your liking.  There is also a bottle of Sriracha sauce and Plum Sauce on the table for those who like to add another flavor to their Pho.  

You will find exactly this at Pho 75.... and nothing else!  This is a Pho place. We included a photo of the menu, so you can see that if you don't want Pho - don't go here. There are 17 kinds of Pho here - 16 with choices of beef meats and one with chicken slices, you can select white meat, dark meat, or combination of both. You can get either a regular size bowl for $6.95 or for only another dollar ($7.95) get the larger bowl. Remember you can always take home what you don't finish! We went with a group of 6, everyone picked a different kind of beef and I ordered the chicken combination.  If you've never tried the Salty Plum drink, it's different.  Worth a taste! Where else are you gonna get it if not here? Pho 75 spends little on overhead - it offers cafeteria-style seating at long tables stretching from one end of the dining hall to the other. The furniture and decor are simple, but clean.  It takes about 5 minutes for your food to come out of the kitchen. Service is very efficient, so please tip accordingly.

A few specifics about Pho 75:

1. This is a CASH ONLY operation.  If you forgot your cash, there is an ATM in the back of the restaurant. 
2. No alcohol is offered here.
3. No reservations are accepted, so arrive expecting a bit of a wait particularly during typical eating times. We arrived for lunch at about 12:30 and waited about 20 minutes to be seated for a group of 6, but for smaller groups it's a much shorter wait. 
4. In the interest of efficiency, grab a menu while standing in line so you can order immediately when seated.  Waiters are quick to take your order and bring out your food. Table turnover is fast.

We definitely recommend Pho 75 for great Pho. 

 Line outside the restaurant of people waiting to get into the restaurant as seen from line inside the restaurant


ATM in the back of the restaurant


Chicken Pho with a Salty Plum drink (give it a good stir!)

Side dish of extras

Empty plate - awesome to the last drop!!!

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE.....!  Next to Pho 75 is an amazing little Vietnamese Market called Banh Mi D.C. Sandwich. Banh Mi actually means sandwich in Vietnamese, but in addition to sandwiches, they sell all sorts of Vietnamese delicacies.  We could not resist stopping here for a few take-out sandwiches only for $3.95 each. Each sandwich comes with a bit of Vietnamese slaw, cilantro, and a long cucumber slice on a white baguette-like sub roll.  This place is seriously awesome. The sandwiches are out of this world, plus you get to pick up any other cool things to try.

 Chicken sandwich was terrific!

We did not like the Alter Cake (on the left), but the banana sticky rice dessert with coconut milk was OK. Not something we would get again.

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