I really like Vien Dong. I don't know if it's the best Vietnamese food around, but I work about a block away so I go there a lot.
I really like the family that runs the place. They're all sweet and they remember what I like to eat so that's always nice.
If you go in the winter, bring a hearty sweater, and maybe a knit cap. The heat barely works in there. If the table by the radior is open, grab it.
As for food, I used to get Number 36, which is a giant bowl of vermicelli noodles with grilled pork, shrimp, egg rolls, and all sorts of goodies on there. I think it's their most popular dish, and whenever I go to Vien Dong with a meat-eating 1st-timer, I suggest #36.
Another great meat dish here is the grilled pork sandwich. Be careful not to mistake it with the bbq sandwich, which is not in the same ballpark.
The last couple years, my favorite has been the T2, which is "Tofu broccoli with cashews." Good stuff. It's basically fried tofu and broccoli stir fry. It has green peppers and onions in it too. It's huge. Since it's so huge, I forgo the side of rice. I also get all high-maintenance by having them skip the cashews and adding a shit pile of heat.
For like $7, it's a screaming deal. But if you are looking for great fried tofu (where the tofu is dusted with corn starch, then fried crispy), then be prepared for not great fried tofu. But add lots of rooster sauce and you're good to go.
Two other gems to consider. In fact, as I type this, I'm thinking these gems would make a great summer meal.
First: the tofu spring rolls. Super yummy. Super cheap ($2.50!). And served with sweet hoisin sauce and peanuts. Add a bit of rooster sauce and you're solid. Ja!
Second: the Avocado shakes. Good stuff. But make sure you're in avocado season. If you are in avocado season, then they'll use fresh avocados. If you're not in avocado season, or they're out, then they'll use a powder version, which of course, is not nearly as good. But on a hot summer day, either one puts out.
Bike parking: there are fancy new bike racks you can use all over the neighborhood. My bike is usually in my office, so I don't have to worry about bike parking here. But before I had an office down the block, I'd lock my bike to the pole near the corner -- where you can see it if you sit in the right place. But you can also use a fancy new rack across the street and sit in a spot where you can see it.
Water solution: spotty. You'll get a full glass upon entering. If it's not busy, you may get a refill. Hot green tea is free for the asking, btw.