Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Pho Long

In the nine years since Pho Long opened, its namesake beef-noodle soup has moved ever closer to the mainstream. The restaurant itself has relocated from an original home, a glorified cupboard, to a somewhat bigger space in the same University City strip mall. The menu, though still not lengthy compared to other Vietnamese restaurants, has expanded beyond just pho. Still, the pho here remains as revelatory as it was on my first visit in 2006. The broth, a recipe handed down through owner Kim Hua Long’s family, is more deeply beefy and more beguilingly spiced than any other pho in town.