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Fri April 22, 2011
I have mentioned many times my passionate love for all Vietnamese cuisine. I love pho, banh mi, fresh spring rolls, everything. I could eat Vietnamese food every day and be perfectly happy. Whenever I need comfort food I heat to one of many favorite places and immediately feel better. I have found lately that I go to one particular place more often than any other: Little Saigon.
Little Saigon is on Broadway, in a newly remodeled space that used to house another great restaurant, Kim Huong. The owners have remodeled and redecorated and it is a clean, airy, modern place with lovely granite tabletops and comfortable seats. The service is friendly and quick and the menu is diverse. I usually go for pho or noodles.
Their dry noodle dishes are outstanding. My favorite has char-grilled pork, lettuce, cilantro, carrots, and onions piled around rice noodles and served with a sweet-tangy fish sauce to pour over all of it. The noodles are springy and the proportion of meat and vegetables flavors them without detracting from their texture. I also order kimchee. Sometimes I have to have two plates of kimchee. It’s really good, spicy and gingery and just the right amount of sizzle and funk from fermentation.
My friend Marta always orders banh mi, and the ones at Little Saigon are lovely, stuffed full of grilled meat, cucumbers, cilantro, and jalapenos, with a big swipe of mayo to hold them all together. You know of my fondness for banh mi already…and the ones here are excellent, although they lack that crazy pate and headcheese that makes it for me. That’s OK. Marta wouldn’t like them if they had headcheese in them.
I love a family-run restaurant and they are getting scarce. Little Saigon is clearly run with care and attention, and the owner and her family are always there, making your food and serving it to you cheerfully. It’s family friendly and big-group accommodating and always clean. Lunch can be busy, but service is quick. You’ll like it, whether you need comfort food or not.