Friday, September 11, 2009

Saigon@Main, Lansdale, PA

I have not done a restaurant review here before, but since there are a few folks local to the area that visit this blog, I thought along with some pictures I took last Friday night, I would give a little information about the restaurant as well.

Saigon@Main Vietnamese Cuisine is located at 844 W Main Street in Lansdale. It is in a relatively new shopping area at the corner of Valley Forge and Main where the Turbo building used to stand. This is all new since I was last home in 2005. If you click on the link, you can see the website and the menu.

We joined my sister and her friend Bobbie for dinner last week. I was not sure what to expect, I know Chinese, and some Japanese and sushi, but had never actually been to a Vietnamese restaurant. Since my sister liked the food, I figured there must be something there that would be good, she is a little less experimental with foods than I tend to be. Tara was not excited about going, but with her book in hand, she agreed to be cordial!

We arrived around 5pm, and were seated right away. We were the only ones there at that time. While we were eating there were a couple additional tables that were occupied. It was early on a beautiful Friday evening, and also Labor Day weekend. I would not judge the restaurant by the lack of a crowd under those circumstances.

The menu is pretty extensive, and to me a little overwhelming, so many new and different things. Each had the Vietnamese name, as well as the name in English and a description. Many things had fresh basil or fresh lemongrass, two herbs that I love! Some of the dishes were served over rice vermicelli, others over broken rice. (Not really sure what that is!)

Tara settled on Pho Ga (chicken soup) $7.95. When it arrived I said the bowl was big enough to bath in! The waiter chuckled. It also came with a side plate of bean sprouts, fresh basil, Vietnamese chili peppers and lime.

Mom ordered Bun Cha Gio (Spring Rolls Vermicelli) $7.95, again the bowl was quite large, lots of noodles, but a generous amount of spring rolls as well.

I orderd Bun Saigon(Saigon Vermicelli) $10.95 - it had crispy slices of spring rolls, grilled chicken, grilled pork and grilled meatballs (I think ground pork, not beef, reminded me of steamed dumpling stuffing). All of the meat was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful.

With both of these dishes you are served a bowl of nuoc mam (vinegar chili sauce) to pour over the noodles. It had a wonderful flavor. The entire dish was full of delightful fresh flavors.

(I FORGOT to take a picture of mine. It was the last dish to come out, and I was distracted by trying to cool off Tara's chicken soup!) It was comparable in size to Mom's dish, and looked similar, just with additional meats.
I also tried Tra Thai - Thai Iced Tea - it was very strong, rich and sweet and I could not finish it. Tai tea with half & half, sweet syrup and ice. I should have known better and stuck with water which I normally drink with Asian food!

My sister had Ga Tau Xi (Sweet & Sour Chicken) $11.95, typical looking served with Jasmine Rice

and I think Bobbie had Ga Xa Ot - Chicken Lemon Grass (spicy) $10.95.

Mom, Tara and I brought some of our meals home. Tara was so so about the soup. She thought it needed salt. (She got a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut next door where my brother in law Larry works!) I finished the soup up for lunch a couple days later and I enjoyed the flavors. I added a bit of soy sauce. Both Mom and I were happy with our meals.

I thought the prices were very reasonable. I will most likely eat here again sometime, maybe for lunch with my sister or mom. I'm not so sure it is some place that Tara would want to go again!

(Matty and James reminded me I forgot a rating!  I had one, but didn't like it and then forgot to retype!)
I give it 3 out of 4 chopsticks, mainly because the menu was so overwhelming to me.  Had I known what was offered, I might have been sure I really got the dish I wanted.

They do not serve alchohol, but it is BYOB.


Matty said...

I've never been to a Vietnamese restaurant, and after looking at those dishes, I'm not sure I'd like to try it. But then again, you never know. I didn't know I'd like Chinese either until someone introduced me to it.

Thanks for the review.

James said...

One of my favorite restaurants is a vegetarian Vietnamese place in California. That would shock some people that know me. :-)
I went to a very authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Little Saigon in Orange County and it was scary. I do like Pho every once in a while it's great when I have a cold.
Now I'm craving pho.

Great review but you forgot to give it stars or something like that. :-)

Matty said...

Yes, I like the rating idea. Instead of stars, and considering your photography theme, you could give something like 5 cameras for great and 1 camera for bad.

Lucy the Cat said...

Hi Martha,

Nicely done restaurant review. Tara's soup sounds like pho. The Vietnamese restaurant I've been to in California has a hot sauce on the table specifically to add to the pho. Maybe that's why it seemed bland to her. I don't think most kids would care for it, but I like it a lot.

Intense Guy said...

Nice review! I went in there for lunch back a while ago - it was a chilly early spring day I think, and the big - they ARE eye openingly big aren't they? :) - steaming hot bowl went down well. I recall it being rather bland myself. I've not been back - but I'm adventurous and would do so.

I spend a while looking for the pictures I took of the Turbo building before they tore the front half down and brought the water tower down with it - my Dad used to work there... I didn't find the pictures (yet).