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February 24, 2000
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Saigon Restaurant
4251 West Sahara
362-9978 Saigon

Good morning Vietnam! We're talking food now folks, not the Robin Williams movie, speaking of which, am I the only person fed up with all those sappy unctuous movies he's made lately. The last good one he made was set in Vietnam, and the last good meal I had was at Saigon, our oldest Vietnamese restaurant on West Sahara, how's that for an obscure tie-in???

Saigon used to serve the only Vietnamese food in town. It has some competitors now, but for my money, it's still the best, even though it's hidden in a nondescript location in between a strippers shop (that's a clothing shop for strippers-which do exist believe it or not) and the faded Statue of Liberty. But forget the location because for over fifteen years this little place has turned out authentic Southeast Asian food. Vietnamese food was fusion before fusion was cool, and it's still a cross-cultural treat for the senses. The food combines the spices of India, China, Malaysia and Thailand with cooking styles as varied and different as stir frying is to fondue. Even the French weighted in with butter and cream, in some dishes, and most Vietnamese cooking features presentations which would impress even a three-star chef, add it together and you have the most eclectic of Asian cuisine.

The Saigon restaurant does this cooking proud with creamy curries, vibrantly fresh stir fries and noodle soups that delight the senses and sooth the soul. Those soups are known as Pho in English and Fu in Vietnamese and are the apotheosis of noodles in broth. Try the spicy beef noodle version for the best cold weather remedy I've ever found. Like the food, the people at Saigon are helpful, heartwarming and sincere, which is more than I can say for the man with the world's smarmiest grin. I say ship Robin Williams out to Planet Hollywood with all the other bad actors. Planet Hollywood is bankrupt by the way, something Williams did to his talent years ago. After seventeen years in the same location, I doubt if Saigon will suffer the same fate.

This is John Curtas.

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Archives

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Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
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Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
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Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
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Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
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Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
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Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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