The family that operates Pho Duy opened Wonderbowl on Federal Boulevard last year with a larger menu of Vietnamese fare than most pho joints offer (including the original Pho Duy, right next door). But the family stamp is apparent from the first spoonful of broth. Deep, rich beef flavor predominates, with subtle hints of ginger and star anise in the background. Rather than an intensely spiced or sweet broth, this one is delicate and sophisticated. What makes Wonderbowl so wonderful, though, is not just the broth, but the generous portions of meats mounded onto each order. The #1 bowl, for example, comes with so much rare steak, flank, brisket, tripe and beef tendon that the thin slices rise up from the broth like the tip of an iceberg. Somewhere beneath all of that is a tangle of tender rice noodles; the entire bowl is packed so full that you'll have trouble stirring in the ultra-fresh basil, bean sprouts and jalapeño slices that come on the side. Other, less common noodle soups give added depth to the menu for those who want to stray from straight-up pho into pork- or seafood-based broths with a whole new range of flavors.
Readers' choice: Pho 95