July 30, 2009

Saigon Grill - Not your average Vietnamese

BBQ Spareribs at Saigon Grill
I finally went to Saigon Grill on University Place this week.

After reading a lot about it and hearing much in the press, I decided to give it a whirl.

I usually stay away from these types of places - huge, standardized Asian fare - especially dressed up Asian fare at fancy prices.

On the outset Saigon Grill looks like a very westernized restaurant - definitely the anti-thesis of your neighborhood hole in the wall.  Which is exactly why I was so skeptical.

But, with both cheerful and fast service mixed in with quite delicious food, I was very pleasantly surprised.

We started off with the BBQ spareribs - basically picked out after seeing the table next to us eating theirs.  This is often the best way of ordering - just look around and see what looks good.

It was a great choice - deliciously sweet and tangy, the spareribs certainly hit the spot.  And just to remind people, they aren't meant to be done pulled pork style and usually are a bit chewey.  Familiar if you watch "The Next Food Network Star," and saw Debbie try to pull it off...

For my main dish we ordered the Curry Tom (curry prawns) and the Bun - with chicken.

Curry Tom at Saigon Grill
The prawns were served with vegetables including eggplant and even okra!

The curry was only mildly spicy - I could have done with a bit more heat - but it is just the right amount of spice to serve a broader crowd.

Served with light and delicate pancakes - it kind of reminded me of a Chinese dish - "Moo Shu Pork" but with a curry twist instead of the sweet plum sauce served in the Chinese version.

Chicken Bun at Saigon Grill
The Bun consists of room temperature rice vermicelli with cucumber, lettuce, bean sprouts, crusted peanut & fresh herbs in nuoc cham sauce topped with grilled chicken.

The fresh cucumbers and mint added a freshness to the dish and nicely balanced out the sweeteness of the nuoc cham sauce and grilled chicken and crusted peanuts. 

Overall, Saigon Grill is a nice choice for large groups with a menu expansive enough to find something for almost everyone - even vegetarians.  Not the most authentic, it has a flavors that are pleasing to a broad audience making it a good "go to" place for many.

For dessert go for ice cream at the Van Leeuwen car which is now parked on University from 8pm to 11pm most nights!

Saigon Grill
91 University Place (Between 11th and 12th)

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