Best Pho Orange County 2010 - Pho Thanh Lich
From the street, this low-slung temple to beef noodle soup looks perpetually closed; the deep eaves hide the neon signs that advertise the restaurant's specialty. Wander in, and most, if not all, of the tables will be occupied by people slurping up pho as though lost at sea for months. Thanh Lich's pho broth is quite possibly the least-greasy in all Westminster, with understated notes of star anise, onion and cloves, but it's the quality of the beef submerged in the soup that sets it apart. Look in the kitchen, and there is no pre-sliced anything: The cooks slice food to order, from brisket to tendon, with a near-constant "thwack." This causes the pho to come to you slightly more slowly, but it will still be only a matter of three or four minutes. The real secret, however, is to order tái (rare beef) on the side for the 50-cent upcharge. A plate of quivering raw filet mignon—yes, filet mignon—will be set next to the boiling soup, giving you the ability to leave the meat rare as the soup is eaten. Finish with a glass of Vietnamese iced coffee, made in a filter right on the table, and leave the restaurant with change from a $10 bill.