“Pho”tograph by Randy Clemens
This column is where Dine Editor Lesley Bargar Suter usually shares her restaurant recommendations that she gives to inquiring friends and/or coworkers. But today, I’m hijacking it, and making it my own. I too get hit up for advice on where to dine out from time to time, and despite the title of this post, I’m always truly happy to help.
Who are you?: Madeleine, a dear friend of mine since high school
What do you want?: A pho restaurant in the Valley
My reply: Phở Số 1 in Van Nuys. Accept no substitutions. It’s at Victory and Sepulveda, next to the 99 Ranch Market. Order the #9 tái chin nam (confusingly translated as “rare steak, flank, and well done”) or the #16 tái nam (“rare steak and flank”). Also get the #97 cha gio (egg rolls), and be sure to laugh when they inexplicably arrive at your table faster than the speed of light. The nước đá chanh (fresh lemonade) is also insane.
Additional chatter: Despite my “accept no substitutions” line, several friends decided they still wanted to give their two cents. Tim said that Phở 999 directly across the street is better, and Arianna offered Bale Valley Restaurant in Canoga Park. Harrison wanted to make sure to add that the Vietnamese iced coffee is “da bomb” at Phở Số 1. Yes it is, Harrison. Yes it is.
Veggie Addendum: Phở Số 1 is the best. I’ve never had pho like that in my life, not even in Vietnam. But as I no longer eat meat, I must look elsewhere for my fix. Vinh Loi Tofu serves up one helluva vegan pho. Heck, if even Eddie Lin can be swayed, you know it’s gotta be good.
Phở Số 1, 6450 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys
(Additional locations in Reseda, Simi Valley, Gardena, and Las Vegas)