Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pho 14: Living Up to Expectations

First, I wish this place was actually in Mount Pleasant. Second, I'm glad we can walk; it's just beyond our borders, over in Columbia Heights. Pho 14 is a vegetarian and yes, vegan friendly Vietnamese restaurant at 1426 Park Rd NW. Since opening in the spring of 2009, this has been one of the go-to dinner spots in Columbia Heights. Rare is the night in which this restaurant is empty. More commonly, you endure a wait for a seat. Even during the snowstorms people like myself were willing to wait our turn in the freezing cold, standing on snow mounds since the waiting area inside the restaurant is virtually non-existent.

Pho 14 has gone out of the way to list ingredients, identify which items are vegetarian, which use fish sauce, et cetera. And VegDC gives them the thumbs up, which is pretty much worth gold.

The staple, pho, is available vegetarian and is great! But so far my favorite dish is the vermicelli, or bun. It's make with, of course, vermicelli noodles, and heaps of vegetables including green onions, thin cucumber slices, carrots, lettuce, sprouts and crushed peanuts. it's topped with sliced, fried tofu that is quite flavorful. I choose the sweet chili sauce to top. This bowl will fill you and more, but there's no need to take the leftovers home. You won't have any. The food is that good. If you're really hungry, get the appetizer of vegetarian spring rolls.

Pho 14 is just the kind of establishment I wish would open doors on Mount Pleasant Street. But, I see the advantages of the Park Road location as well. I can and will be making the walk there this summer, no doubt.