Nestling itself into the cozy neighborhood on Wisconsin Ave, Pho Viet & Grille brings the Georgetown area a relatively inexpensive yet satisfying new eatery. This little café just north of Q St. aims to attract the pho-loving crowd that wants to avoid the trek to Rosslyn for their Vietnamese gastro-fix.
Upon entering the small space, several employees immediately jump to seat you at one of the intimate wooden tables. Or, if you prefer, you can head back to the dark mahogany bar and place an order for a decently priced drink or—and this was worth a double take—a tall glass of the restaurant’s homemade soymilk.
Yes, that’s right, Georgetown’s growing community of health-conscious and lactose-fearing students can obtain a fresh made glass of soymilk just a short stroll up the block. The fresh drink pairs nicely with the flan or fried bananas on the dessert menu.
Boasting seven different variations of the famous dish, Pho Viet & Grille also serves rice and meat combinations in addition to more expensive “Chef’s Specials.” The various spinoffs build off of the standard steak flank pho. No. 2 pairs both steak flank and beef meatballs in the soup. With tender steak flank and soft noodles, the meatballs’ chewy texture works to counter the delicate lightness of the dish.
The most interesting item on the menu, however, is the banh mi. Vietnamese cuisine includes this French-inspired baguette sandwich, which is filled like a spring roll but substitutes the typical shrimp or tofu for heavier meat. A hefty duo of pho and banh mi comes in just over $12.
You won’t find the communal feel of more casual pho restaurants at Pho Viet & Grille. Quiet music and dim lighting set the mood for a romantic date or small business lunch.
With a straightforward name like Pho Viet & Grille, you’d think you know what type of restaurant you’re walking into. Instead, the combination of food and atmosphere create an odd pastiche of a 60s French bistro.
Take two cartoonish paintings of a French-looking chef with a substantial mustache, 40s American Big Band music, and Vietnamese noodles, and you’ve got Pho Viet & Grille. It’s a good place to grab a casual dinner because of—not in spite of—its endearing kitsch.