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Mar 19, 2008 11:25 AM

Vietnamese in Central Jersey.

After reading and posting on several treads about central jersey eats, It dawned on me that I have yet to read about a restaurant that opened about a year ago and I only found last May. Thanh Hoai II, It's a branch of the old Miss Saigon in Jersey City. Where by the way ,my wife and I would drive to for good Vietnamese food.They are in the strip mall on Rt 9 south in South Amboy: 960 RT 9 south. Phone:732 727 2000.Their menu and quality of food is far better than Pho Anh Dao in Edison, who uses a hogie roll for their Banh Mi and can't supply you with Nam Pla when asked.The Pho's are solid and tasty but ask them to heat up the broth for you. I like mine HOT. Try the flounder when in season, Fried dry and crisp in a light tangy sauce with a hint of lemon grass and Thai basil,# 96 on the menu. The Bo Luc Luc, grilled beef cubes over asian water cress, #110. Give it a shot and I think you'll like it.

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  1. What I like is the board on the back left wall that advertises very general family specials at very affordable prices, BYOB and filled w Viet. families. 92yr old mother loved it!
    Er du overaskelt? Men de har ingjen polser med rekker salad! Rett na ve kjorper Norsk typer rekker for $.75/lb for en ekte godt rekker fest. Rekker smorbrod med rekker, smor, godt brod, lemon y mayonaise! Delig!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Passadumkeg

      Passa. Where are you getting such a deal on shrimp salad and how do I get in on such food action? move to Maine? I sort of figured you would have already found the place.What do you think about the menu and offerings?

      1. re: currymouth

        We get North Atlantic shrimp, uncooked (not like in Norge), with the heads on, for $.75/lb right from a pick up truck by the roadside. We live on rekker smorbrod in the winter.
        As a Viet Vet, I very much enjoyed the menu, but the Pho was a little weak. I wish they had BBQ pork sandwiches on bagguette, my favorite street food and more fish dishes. I have to drive almost 3 hrs to get to a VN restaurant in Portland, so I am very appreciative to have one so close til moren min. We order extra just for breakfast.
        Women come and go and talk of Michaelangelo.
        "The Wasteland"
        Not by Sigrid Unset
        Hvor bodde du i Norge?

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          I've had Pho in many places in the world and find that the Pho Ahn Dao restaurant in Somerset on Rt. 27 is pretty darn good. It is a very flavorful broth that keeps me and my wife coming back almost every week. Closest in flavor to real on the ground Pho in Ho Chi Minh City. Better even than Paris Pho shops we've been to.
          The rest of the menu is...ok.

          1. re: abatwork

            Do they have Vietnamese sandwiches?

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              ...ony forgetable Banh Mi
              go for the Pho

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                They do, But not even close to what is available in Chinatown, Next time you are in town try Paris Sandwich on 113 Mott st in the City.Try the Paris special or the Grilled pork Banh Mi.Their Cafe sua Nong is the strongest in CT

              2. re: abatwork

                I haven't tried the Edison Pho Anh Dao, but the Somerset location on 27 left me with the worst MSG headache and wasn't very good. The cha gio and stuffed leaves were overly salty. The broth for the pho tai warm at best and the weakest I've had in awhile. Additionally, by the time we got our bowls of soup, the meat was overcooked and chewy. The extra side of beef didn't cook in the lukewarm broth.

                Loved the tea, however. And the server, when we saw him, was nice.

                We've had mixed service (generally good) at Pho 99 in Franklin Park (also on 27 in the same mall as Great Wall grocer), but the food was really really good--all of it. We always leave overstuffed and ready for a long nap (hence we only go on weekends). Fresh, clean, piping hot soup and appetizers. I just hope they go back to playing Asian pop instead of the dreadful easy listening/soft rock stations which places like 7-11 use to keep people from loitering.

        2. We tried the new-ish Huong Que in North Brunswick last night. Good, solid Vietnamese, but we didn't like as much as our favorite place (Bien Hoa in Edison) -- It is much closer to our house though. We had Pho, Bun thit nuong cha gio (Vermicelli w/ Grilled Pork and Spring Rolls), and Grilled Chicken on Broken Rice. All good.

          Houng Que Vietnamese Rest
          572 Milltown Rd North, Brunswick, NJ

          1. I noticed last week that there is one in Sea Bright. I did not get to try it yet. Does anyone know anything about it? cannot remember the name.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Barbarella

              It is named The Palm, and purports to be French - Vietnamese.

              Went there last Summer and was somewhat less than impressed. They would have to have made some improvements for me to go back. It is understandable that service would be shaky only a couple months after opening, but the food itself seemed to leave us flat.

              Making an early arrival, before 6pm with reservations we entered a completely empty dining room. Even so, we were directed to a cramped corner table. When asking if we could move to a better table next to the windows we were told that they were sorry but no. This became more troubling by the time we left and the dining room was not even half full.

              One of the first pronouncements from our server was that she was new there (relatively, the place has only been open 3 months), and that the person training her was not in that night. Hmmmm. Oh well, it was just a Friday night...

              Appetizers were ordered and served, and turned out to be fairly unremarkable. I had a Scallop Roll which was made with seared scallops, mango, scallions and was served with a tamarind sauce. Even though the ingredients were seemingly well prepared, the overall impression was one of blandness. I've found this with a lot of Japanese foods as the textures and flavors can be very nuanced, but expect Vietnamese fare to be heartier and more floral.

              We were then served a Mango salad which was julianned mango and jicama. It was OK but still lacked some punch.

              Our waitress then came and asked if we would like our check. I can appreciate attentive service and hate to be left forgotten while waiting for the check, but I honestly had hoped to be able to enjoy the entrees first... Once the confusion was cleared up, our dinners were served. Shortly after the plates were set, we were assured that our Mango Salad would be right out... (?)

              Incidentally, 3 of the evenings main courses were not available that night, which was a real disappointment to half the table.

              I had the seafood medley, a combo of scallops, shrimp and chicken (of the sea? Nahhh.), served on noodles. I had specifically asked them to spice it up, but it was still bland. Other folks had the Filet Mignon, Diver Scallops and Pad Thai. Again the food was well prepared and cooked as asked, but remained rather ununspired. A little more assertive seasoning would have made our selections more memorable. Oh, and they did bring us our second Mango Salad...

              A notable departure from this trend were the desserts, not usually a contender in Asian restaurants. The Creme Brulee and Apple Tart with vanilla ice cream were declared winners.

              All in all, this place may be worth waiting for, giving time for them to work the kinks out of the service, but more attention needs to be given to the seasonings used in what is billed as an ethnic eatery. There are other local Vietnamese places with more authentic fare for half the price.

              1. re: equal_Mark

                Bamboo Leaf in Bradley Beach is technically a vietnamese place, that also offers a large variety of Thai (they probably market the restaurant as a Thai place more because of Thai food popularity).

                The menu consists of both traditional Vietnamese and Thai dishes. I used to eat here fairly often, normally getting the Vietnamese roasted pork & shrimp dish, which was simple, but inexpensive and tasty.

                The original owners were Vietnamese, but the current owner is of Malasian descent (I believe). Last time I went I ordered a Thai curry, which was very soupy and I was disappointed. I did get the Vietnamese pork & shrimp dish once before under the current ownership and it was good, but I can't say its one of the best Thai out there, and I haven't had much of a chance to compare the Vietnamese..

                Has anyone else eaten here? Any opinions?

                1. re: jlsmi2

                  I've noted that it has gotten mixed reviews here, but I've always enjoyed Saigon II in Lincroft...


                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    I have enjoyed both Pho Ahn Dao and Pho 99 on route 27. The broth at Pho 99 was very clean and savory. It reminds me on the Pho houses i used to frequent in the bay area. The Vermicelli bowls are a nice change of pace.

            2. Pho 99, the little Vietnamese place in Franklin Park (Route 27) has been mentioned in numerous threads. This thread, however, seems to be the best place to note that Pho 99 just received a thumbs up in a review in a local paper:


              6 Replies
              1. re: ambrose

                Somehow, I just can't find the great Vietnamise style entres I had at VN restaurants on Dundas Street in Toronto or on M Street in Georgetown, Wash DC. There, they had large plates of veggies and fish that you wrapped up on lettuce, sprinkled with peanuts.

                I live right near Pho 99 but I can't find there, or at other Jersey VN restaurants, similar dishes to those in other cities. Are the local styles different?

                1. re: MoxieBoy

                  Moxie Boy - Certainly not an expert but your post got me thinking, thanks.
                  Here is some information on the regional food styles.
                  Pho is more a northern dish while seafood dishes would be in line with southern vietnamese food, boarding thailand.

                  In addition, after the Vietnam War, fall of Saigon, there was a huge migration from Saigon to Toronto. That could be why?

                  Again interesting point made, and I would love to try the dish mentioned above.

                  1. re: MoxieBoy

                    MoxieBoy, do you remember where on Dundas you had these meals? I haven't been to Toronto for a couple of years but I do recall a vegetarian Vietnamese place on Dundas. If that's where you went, it might explain the difference between your experience in Toronto and what we normally find at Vietnamese restaurants here in NJ (none of the NJ restaurants I've been to are vegetarian though I'm sure they exist).

                    If you had gone to any of the Vietnamese places on Spadina Avenue in Toronto (many more than on Dundas), you would have found several pho places similar to what we have here.

                    BTW, there are lots of discussions on the General Chowhounding Board about pho. Interesting reading. I did not know, for example, that in Vietnam pho is primarily a breakfast dish.

                    Added in Edit: Since you live near Pho 99, perhaps you could pose your question to the owners and let us know what they say.

                    1. re: ambrose

                      Within the past six months I've had Banh Mi in NYC, Canada, DC suburbs and then last week in Lincroft at Saigon II. We brought home two sandwiches from there - the classic and the chicken.

                      Both benefited from some home love (a smear of mayo and a squirt of sriracha) and neither was as good as any of the three we had elsewhere (but to be fair those were some of the best Bahn Mi ever). But these were pretty decent for a local option. The meat was decent, the veggies crisp, and the roll very good.

                      Anyone else have the relatively new Bahn Mi at Saigon II? I'm thinking about adding them to the fried spring roll as my usual go-to foods there.

                    2. re: MoxieBoy

                      MB: when Pho 99 first opened, there were more items on the menu; since then, those items were moved to the weekday lunch menu.

                      Regarding time of day for eating pho, my mother said that they used to have bowls of it at midnight. I can eat it any time of the day or night, throughout the year.

                    3. re: ambrose

                      Pho 99 was reviewed in yesterday's New York Times (10/11/09). It received an overall rating of "Good", which in NY Times lingo translates into average.