Sunday, September 07, 2008

Late-night dining and drinking

If you want a cheap, hearty meal late on a Saturday night, you can't go wrong with a big bowl of pho.Federal Boulevard has countless options for Vietnamese food. I usually go to Pho 79 or Pho Duy, but tonight we tried Pho 95. Packed with families even at 10 p.m. and very friendly. We ordered egg rolls to start with, and instead of just a plate of rolls, you get all the extras of pickled carrots and daikon, and mint, lettuce leaves, noodles ... I was a little confused about how to manage it all. Our server explained how to wrap up the rolls in the lettuce with the fixings, but I couldn't quite figure out the logistics of that. Any suggestions?

The pho was, as ever, hearty and filling. I usually order a small bowl, which is way more than I can ever finish anyway. I got the rare steak and well-done brisket bowl. Load it up with bean sprouts, basil, saw-leaf herb, a squeeze of fresh lime and sriracha. Mmmmm. And of course, iced coffee. Even though it was late.

Sometime later, we washed up at Billy's Inn, which has recently revamped itself from smoky dive to something a little more slick, with an extensive tequila list (and a fancy new neon sign). In hindsight, I recall seeing some chatter about Billy's on the food boards, and whether it was better in its new incarnation. I can't recall the verdict, though.

Certainly the patio was nice, and much quieter than the clamorous interior. I can't speak to the tequila – I had a Jack and ginger.


  1. Wow. That pho looks absolutely amazing. . . . I need to get my brothers into eating more 'different' foods so I can make some!

  2. My husband likes the pho at Ha Noi. It's the place that got shot up by a random maniac, who was then apprehended by the police who were there--eating their pho for lunch.

    I avoid Federal at night. Good thing the Sergeant was with you.

  3. Euphreana, pho is probably an adventure to make, too. I have never tried because it's so cheap and good from the Vietnamese restaurants here. Usually $5 for a "small" bowl (which I can rarely finish). They benefit from economies of scale, making big vats of oxtail broth and buying all the meat and veg in bulk.

    Groovy, I haven't been to Ha Noi yet. I remember the shooting, though! Federal at night doesn't bother me that much, as long as I can park right outside wherever I'm going. Most of the places are in strip malls and there are still plenty of people around of the non-skeevy variety as long as the restaurants are open.