Little Saigon has much to recommend

08/03/2012 5:00 AM

08/03/2012 7:53 AM

Little Saigon at 1015 N. Broadway has been open about two years and is one of the best — if not the best — Vietnamese restaurants in town. Prior to opening, the owners remodeled the space, and it’s clean, modern and uncluttered, with granite tabletops that lend a classy touch. Service is fast, friendly and attentive.

Menu choices are plentiful — appetizers, banh mi (sandwiches), soups, noodle and rice dishes, stir-fry dishes, dinner specials, smoothies and other beverages, including alcohol. Most dishes are Vietnamese, though there also are a few Chinese and Korean choices. You will not have a problem finding enough appealing dishes, but it could be difficult deciding which to choose.

After starting with fresh spring rolls with the house peanut sauce ($3.99) and chicken lettuce wraps ($4.95), we enjoyed pho and banh mi for lunch. There was enough of the chicken lettuce wraps to share, or they would have made a nice lunch on their own. The wraps were deliciously messy, and we enjoyed every drippy bite.

Pho rhymes with “duh,” not “go,” but there’s nothing “duh” about pho. It’s a classic Vietnamese soup usually served with beef or chicken, and Little Saigon’s pho ($5.95 for a regular, $6.95 for a large) features a simple yet delicious broth with rice noodles and an accompanying dish of fresh bean sprouts, lemon, basil, onion, cilantro and jalapeno.

The banh mi ($3.25) was generously filled with grilled pork, cucumbers, cilantro and julienned carrot, and the French bread was dressed with a garlicy spread. Cafe sua da, a coffee drink with sweetened condensed milk over ice, topped off our meal.

On another visit with friends for supper, we shared appetizers of pan fried dumplings ($3.75) and Vietnamese fried egg rolls ($3.25) and entrees of char-broiled pork and egg roll, ($6.75) chicken and shrimp with egg noodles ($6.95), and BBQ short ribs with broken rice ($7.50). We’d recommend all except the BBQ short ribs. Though tasty, they were a bit tough. My three dining companions ordered mango smoothies and, at our server’s recommendation, I chose an avocado smoothie. Though different, I’d definitely order it again.

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