In the last couple of years, Brookland has gone from DC’s backwater/nun village to a paradise of diverse dining options/nun village! From the laid-back atmosphere of Steel Plate to the Ethiopian-fusion lunch of Askale Cafe to the varied alcoholic offerings at Brookland Pint, this lesser-known neighborhood is trying hard to become a foodie haven. They even have an upscale Starbucks!
Being right on my regular run route, Pho 12 hadn’t escaped my notice, but I just hadn’t had the opportunity to make it here. Today, that opportunity presented itself.
First and foremost, their menu is enormous. I’m glad that I spent some time researching online first because it might have taken me twenty minutes just to settle on my pho contents. I chose the #4: eye of round, flank steak, fatty brisket, and soft tendon, which I don’t usually get. I also ordered a Vietnamese coffee because I was feeling wild and crazy.
The service was ridiculously fast. Fresh basil and bean sprouts adorned my plate. The small soup was packed full of meat and they were particularly generous with the tendon. I tried it first plain; the broth was rich and savory, but not too salty. I ended up adding a decent amount of chili sauce as well as some hoisin. All the meats were great and cooked to tender perfection. The flank was particularly flavorful. The soft tendon had a great texture, ranging from that of al dente pasta to melt-in-your-mouth. While ordering, I had noticed that the menu offered “extra carrot” and “extra broccoli” as options, and I overlooked them. I’m sad that I did because the pho lacked all vegetables except onions, so I definitely recommend shelling out some extra cash for the veggies.
My coffee was the johnny-come-lately to my meal. It actually arrived after I’d received my pho, and it had the little individual diffuser on top, so I had to sit and be patient while it steeped. Just kidding. I don’t know how to be patient, especially when it comes to coffee, so when my efforts to hurry it along didn’t help, I drank my 3/4 of a cup of delicious, chocolately, too-strong coffee with just a touch of condensed milk.
I have a feeling that my love affair with Pho 12 is only beginning.
Price: $10-15 per person
Bottom line: Pho 12 has the quality cheap eats and fast service you’ve been looking for.
Bonus Brookland pro-tip: If you like good beer and adorable dogs, the Right Proper tasting room on Girard Street is the place to be. No food, but good atmosphere and great trivia on Thursday nights.