I just discovered Gia Lam on 54th and 8th Ave. for pho, which (surprisingly) I'd never had before--I knew what pho was, but had never tasted it until last week. I thought it was terrific, but since it was my first pho experience, I didn't know how it measured up to other places. Since I'm near Gia Lam, I'm sure I'll keep heading there, but I might go on a pho excursion if anybody knows of places to try.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, I've made the requisite Ocean Palace runs, but was really disappointed wtih both the service and the food (except for the squid with pickled mustard greens, which was excellent). The people at Gia Lam are really nice, too, although yesterday they didn't give me tea until I asked for it (I was served ice water, instead, which I noticed no one else had).