Tokyo is well served for Vietnamese food these days, and there’s no compelling need to venture far from the center when the craving arises for pho, cha gio and banh xeo. Even so, many of our favorite places are far from the mainstream. But few are as obscure — or as worth searching out — as Bistro Authentique.

The setting is as improbable as the name: A tiny one-counter hole-in-the-wall restaurant at the far end of a humid, odoriferous underground arcade in Asakusa that feels like a time warp back to the 1970s. Barely big enough for seven seats squeezed around an equally microscopic kitchen area, it looks modest even for a noodle joint. You certainly don’t expect to find an extensive menu — or such excellent cooking.

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