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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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Move Over Thai – I’ll Try Vietnamese

After weeks of reviewing pad thai places, I decided to expand my horizons and try something new – Vietnamese.  I didn’t want to give up pad thai, but after my friend Doug referred to our blog as 89thandthai.com, I figured it was time to make a change.

So on Sunday night, we headed over to Saigon Grill for dinner, down in Union Square.  When walking in, immediately it reminded me of a dimsum restaurant down in Chinatown – it was a huge space with tons of tables.  We had a quiet table in the back and started with hot sake and plum wine.  While I didn’t try the sake, the wine was on the sweeter side, but a really great drink.

Per usual, the boyfriend and I ordered fried calamari for an appetizer.  When it first came out, we weren’t too impressed.  The calamari tasted more like breading then calamari, but as we kept dipping it in this light sauce, we could not get enough of it.  It was full of flavor and spicy and without it, the calamari would have been awful.  If anything, I’d recommend ordering the calamari just to enjoy the deliciousness of the sauce.

For dinner, I ordered the shrimp bun xao (pronounced bun chow).  If you are like me and unfamiliar with Vietnamese, this dish has stir fried rice noodles w. shredded vegetables, egg & crushed peanut, served with nuoc cham sauce on the side.  I recommend asking for extra nuoc cham sauce, otherwise the dish is fairly dry.  Once I dumped the extra sauce on, it was excellent.  With the extra sauce, it wasn’t greasy, like a typical Chinese lo mein dish and while I usually don’t like a ton of egg in my pad thai dishes, the egg in this dish combined with the sauce was great.  My only suggestion is to maybe go with the beef or chicken bun xao next time.  The shrimp wasn’t bad, but they just didn’t taste too flavorful – almost as if they were frozen and tossed in, almost a little watery tasting.

With two entrees, two alcoholic beverages and an appetizer, the bill without a tip came to $43 dollars.  Not bad for Manhattan.  Even better, I was able to take home half of my entree and have it for lunch the next day.  Overall, I’d head to Saigon Grill again – it was definitely a good alternative to my traditional pad thai.

The Basics
Name: Saigon Grill
Location: Locations all around NYC – UWS, Union Square, UES
Who to take: Date, Friends
Price: Typical NYC.  $$
Overall:  I’m a fan.  4 stars.

Saigon Grill on Urbanspoon

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