Golden Deli Fire? Sister Restaurant Saigon Flavor
yesterday i was looking forward to scratching my weekly pho itch at golden deli. as i pull up to the strip mall i'm greeted by an awkward chainlink fence jutting out into the parking lot like a makeshift corral around the 7-11 and the stores beside it.
looks like there was a fire at the convenience store and although golden deli was the furthest away of the affected area, it was closed down. hungry and dismayed i drive by the restaurant to have a peer inside and i notice a sign taped to the door. on it is scrawled:
CLOSED - Visit our other location
On Valley 1 block east of Del Mar.
near Hawaii supermarket
aha! a sister restaurant? all these years i thought their other joint was Vietnam House across the street. anyway, i excitedly turn the car around and head over to Saigon Flavor.
on my way there i wondered...would the pho be just as good? do they also serve cha gio? all my qualms were put at ease as we were sat and given menus...the same exact menus with the same exact pictures from golden deli. they even have the same ginormous poster of a waterfall on the wall.
i had the house special pho #1 and an order of cha gio. the cha gio was thankfully just as savory as golden deli's and the pho? hmph..well its broth was even better!
so consider me a saigon flavor convert. the lack of crowds, tons of empty parking in the back, a much prettier room and their superior broth have won this hound over.
I don't think you can count on a lack of crowds. When I went by Saigon Flavor a few days ago the place was packed with a mob of people waiting to get in. I suspect the word will spread about the co-ownership and that Saigon Flavor is going to be packed as long as Golden Deli is closed.
Tried to go to Golden Deli last week but found it to be closed from the fire. I thought about going to Saigon Flavor but went to Vietnam House instead since it was across the street. I found, to my surprise, that the pho was really really good this time. I don't know what it was but I have no problem now going to VietnamHouse over GD.
We need to re-visit Vietnam House. Our band of gastro-gnomes has been just once, for the seven-course beef thing (fun, but once is enough), but it seems whenever we're in that neighborhood we keep hitting GD or Newport Seafood, in spite of the insane crowds (since we always go on weekends, too). No such problems across the street, usually, so if the pho etc. is really that good we're overdue for a trip back. At least before the word gets out...!
About 90% of the time, I pick Vietnam House over Golden Deli (unless it's a Tuesday, when VH is closed) for two simple reasons: (1) they take plastic; and (2) better parking.
I really can't tell the difference in the food.
A third reason to pick Vietnam House, if you're eating there: they serve beer, if you're interested. I'm happy with a lemonade, but Dad likes a brew with his meal.