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Utilitarian Argyle Street spot notable for the freshness of its ingredients.

Our Review

"Eye of round steak, well done flanks, fat brisket, soft tendon, bible tripe, and meat balls" reads the description of Pho's signature item, the Special 777. But it's not as double double toil and trouble as that might sound: doctored with mint leaves, cucumber, and the four chile sauces on offer, this substantial beef-noodle soup had even my squeamish friend tucking in, though if you're tripe resistant there are 18 other variations to choose from, along with an array of pork and seafood soups and hot pots. The banh xeo, Vietnamese pancake, was filled with slices of pork and notably fresh shrimp and also benefited from the chile sauce (what doesn't?). The only dish to disappoint was the traditional catfish cooked in a clay pot, which tasted far more powerfully of soy sauce than of lemongrass. Group meals are popular at this utilitarian dining room, which grew festive when a party of eight moved in. Foremost Liquors, just down the street, has a surprisingly good selection of wines. I splurged on a Grand Cru--at $36, it was $16 more than our meal.

Kate Schmidt

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