11 am-9 pm daily. $ Inexpensive.
[VIETNAMESE] Tucked away amid the used-car lots along the otherwise tired thoroughfare of Southeast 82nd Avenue is this very fresh eatery offering reasonably priced and tasty Vietnamese cuisine. The setting inside Pho Van's large dining room is light and airy. But while the scene is distinctly casual, don't be misled into believing the large menu is an unimaginative mix of typical Asian dishes. Start with goi bap chuoi, a banana-blossom salad that features a crisp blend of chicken, grapefruit and julienned jicama. For the main course, there is, of course, a wide variety of Vietnamese soups. Try the bun bo hue, a spicy beef and lemongrass soup, for a warmly comforting meal on a cool night. Not into soup? Then order the com ca ri ga chicken curry, a sweet buttery mix of chicken tenders, yams and onions. Or go for the bun chit cha gio honey lemongrass pork and shrimp noodles, a succulently smoky mix. And a Bia 33 beer from Vietnam. HENRY STERN.
Ideal meal: Crispy vegetarian rolls, beef noodle soup.
Best deal: Any of the rice-stick-noodle soups, ranging from $7.15 for a small bowl to $8.35 for a large one.