Restaurant Guide 2013: Pho Oregon

2518 NE 82nd Ave., 262-8816.

[PHO OUT] With its antiseptic, cafeteria-style atmosphere reminiscent of a big-city Chinatown, Pho Oregon is a world away from the precious chalkboards and decorative jarred preserves west of, say, Northeast 60th Avenue. If you're out here, you're here to eat pho, and pho is what's on the menu: Behind a few perfunctory salad-roll appetizers and meat curries, you'll find several pages' worth of noodle soup combinations. Within minutes of receiving your order, a highly efficient team of blue-shirted waiter-bussers deploys trays of the namesake steaming-hot, fragrant broth, piled high with anything from tendon and tripe to meatballs and pizzle (yes, penis), accompanied by a little dish of bean sprouts, sawtooth herb, lime slices and an enormous sprig of Thai basil. You eat your soup, you pay your bill up front, and you leave. Be it known that a "large" size ($8.45-$8.95) is more than enough for two people, leaving a few extra bucks for pastries and cookies at Lanvin French-Vietnamese bakery in the back parking lot. (Try the cinnamon sticks.)

Ideal meal: Dac biet ($8.95): beef pho with everything but the pizzle (round and flank steak, brisket, tendon, tripe and meatballs).

Best deal: See above.

Pro tip: Large group with divergent palates? Come here. Tables are long, service is fast, and even the pickiest of eaters won't turn down a bowl of plain beef broth with rice noodles ($7.45/small).
8:30 am-8:45 pm daily. $.


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