Reading through the threads on food contrariness (especially the idea of homogenization of food) and seeing mention of pho got me thinking. I wanted to take a poll to see what people thought was the best pho (either in Manhattan, or the outer boros). I am often afraid to tell my favorite for fear that Zagat's picks them up and makes them famous possibly causing them to Americanize and homogenize. That's very selfish of me as perhaps the owner's are trying to get into Zagat's so that they can grow, prosper and maybe expand but still cook the same authentic food.
So in the interest of supporting the authentic and marvelous, regardless the cost to the future of food in NYC, I say loudly and proudly that my favorite pho is at
Hester and Chrystie (I think..not trying to hide it away, I just can't remember because I just walk there)
This is a very small place, with about 7 tables, and I mostly see locals and what look like Vietnamese truck drivers (huge generalization, I know!) eating there. They have a somewhat limited menu but everything on it is wonderful. Their pho is the best I have outside of Vietnam. Their fried spring rolls are wonderful, same goes for the pork chop and the chicken curry. That's about all I know of their menu because I go there mainly for the pho.
I am looking forward to hearing other responses and hoping to find that my fave is 2nd rate, as Jim Leff said.