Vietnamese, Please: Williamsburg's Mama Pho

Vietnamese, Please: Williamsburg's Mama Pho

The glowing red neon sign says everything you need to know: "Pho."

Vietnamese eats, touched by French colonial influence, is what this very causal East Williamsburg spot is about. Order at the counter in the back, grab a number and a seat at the communal tables and wait for steamy satisfaction and lots of slurping. The pho, served steaming in large bowls, is enough to warm even the coldest of hearts: Thai basil sprigs, bean sprouts and jalapeno slices swim in hot amber broth, alongside classic cooked beef (the top pick) or a choice of chicken or tofu and mushroom. If you're looking for something a little more solid than the signature soup, go for the rock-star bahn mi. Mysteriously addictive baguettes (much softer and lighter than the traditional French version) are stuffed with cucumber strips, cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon radish and your choice of Vietnamese cold cuts, pork belly chicken, tofu and mushroom, meatball, minced pork or—my undisputed preference—light, crispy catfish. Load it liberally with chili sauce (keep your water close, the burn is worth it).

Make the experience complete with a Thai iced tea (orange elixir) or Vietnamese coffee (sweet brown goodness) finish. Pho-nomenal [wink].

» Mama Pho, 580 Grand St., Brooklyn, 718.599.5015