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February 24, 2000


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.

See discussion rules.


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