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Dec 22, 2008 05:54 PM

Saigon @ Main open at last!!!!

I can hardly believe it! I had given up on this place in Lansdale ever kicking off so long ago, but as I was driving by I noticed a small blue open sign! Happily I was on my way to get some take out from Thai Nadia. I was gonna hit Yangtze but forgot they were closed on monday. The place was empty but with several grand opening plants and bouquets, and I got Grilled Pork Chop with Broken Rice for 8.95. "char-grilled marinated pork chop with minced lemon grass served on broken rice." It was very tasty. I got a take out menu and am planning to eat my way through the extensive menu. I'm not sure they are set up for credit cards yet, luckily I actually had some cash on me. Their number is 215 368 9888 and they are open 7 days for lunch and dinner.

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  1. Stopped in with my family and had a very nice meal. I had the beef and lemongrass Pho and my son had the chicken Pho. Daughter had shrimp curry and wife had a fish hotpot. All of it was very good, the atmosphere is very pleasant, the waitstaff is very friendly, and the service is excellent. The total bill for the 4 of us, with 2 coffees and a funky jello dessert (avoid) was about $60.

    It is BYOB and 5 minutes from my house so we will be there often I suspect. Our waiter said that, like us, many patrons were saying that they were regulars at Vietnam Caf in Telford. Should be interesting to see if Saigon affects their business significantly.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Schpsychman

      Awesome! John is too scared to go to the Telford place but I might get him to go to Saigon very soon. Now I have to figure what wine or beer goes with the food at Saigon.

      1. re: givemecarbs

        Well for my family and me, the verdict is still out on which restaurant is better. My kids are leaning toward Vietnam Cafe right now. We're going eat there again tonight and I'm going to have the regular Pho Tai, which is hard to beat at Vietnam Cafe. I'll report back again.....

        1. re: Schpsychman

          Awesome! I don't know much about Vietnamese cuisine.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            I don't know much about it, either, but am curious. I wouldn't know the first thing to order walking into these places, so that's why I would be hesitant to go. Any tips for a first timer?

            1. re: Hellolaura

              Recommendation to experience Vietnam Cafe for the first time would be get the Pho #1 Pho Tai ... Big bowl of soup with noodles and flank steak. You will be brought items intended to be added to the soup as well including lime, jalapenos, bean sprouts, pickled onions (sometimes), thai basil, and sawgrass. You put these items in your soup as you eat it.

              I often get an order of summer rolls (#23 if my memory serves me correctly). Cold rolls with Shrimp and roast pork, with noodles wrapped in rice paper. Good start for the meal.

              Another standard dish is Bun.. Cold noodles with meat on top.

              Vietnam Cafe is BYO .. I recommend a nice lager beer that can stand up to warm and sometimes spicy food. At a Vietnamese restaurant you will find the Vietnamese beer "88"... I would recommend a nice pilsner like Victory Prima Pils to pair with it.

              1. re: cwdonald

                Totally agree with these recommendations! Their Pho Tai (#7 on the menu) is fantastic, better than Saigon@Main IMHO. And the summer rolls (#27b but I could be wrong) are a great start as cwdonald suggests. And, it is NOT a scary place by any means, either location or menu-wise, safe both ways. My kids and I are debating where is better now that Saigon@Main is open (a few blocks from us much closer than Vietnam Cafe) and I think the consensus so far is that Saigon is good but Vietnam Cafe is better!

        2. re: givemecarbs

          How can anyone be scared to go to a place in Telford? It's not North Philly! I worked in the Perkasie/Telford area for over 10 years and I can't think of a single store of any kind that I was afraid to enter. John needs to suck it up and walk through the door!

          1. re: bucksguy14

            He he! Maybe on New Year's Eve I can get him to go. Now that Atlantic Books is fifty percent off he is gonna cut loose after work. Telford is his home town. Is it byob bucksguy?

      2. tasty, but greasy. Average Vietnamese. Greasy beef pho (beef brisket pieces were delicious when you cut off the fat), oily salt&pepper shrimp. Tofu ("summer") rolls ok. Insipid tea. We will be working our way through the vegetarian options over the next weeks.

        11 Replies
        1. re: alanalan

          I had a late lunch there about 10 days ago. I had the summer rolls with pork and shrimp. An order was only two rolls (compared to four at Vietnam Cafe), and was decidedly less flavorful.

          I had the Pho Tai. I found the beef to be pink when it was brought to the table, and it continued to cook in the broth. The broth was chocked full of onions, and scallions, in addition to the meat and noodles. Broth wasn't as flavorful as Vietnam Cafe. Additions to the broth were ok, though there were no onions or sawgrass to accompany it. Also, sauces were not on the table like Vietnam Cafe. They did bring rooster sauce though I would have preferred fish sauce, and some of the chili paste as well.

          The restaurant is small, with a dividing screen seperating larger tables and tables for two.. the latter area is decidedly darker than the other area. Service is uneven, sometimes having to wait for water refills, other times it is filled after only having taken a sip. I had their tea (gunpowder tea) which had a smokey flavor to it. I didn't think it paired well with the food. I would prefer a jasmine type of tea. Also had coffee and rather than bringing out the dripping device and the coffee cup, it was premade. Definitely loses points in this regard.

          The menu is a bit more extensive than Vietnam cafe, though I wonder about their ability to do a wider range of dishes. There are touches to the restaurant that seem misplaced. Does a place like this need a POS system? Decor is ok, music system is ok, but overall atmosphere in the restaurant is nothing to write home about.

          I will return as they are closer than Telford, but I perhaps may just do take out. Dishes I want to try include their salt baked octopus, their salads, and their bun. Food is good not great, and its decidedly more expensive than Vietnam Cafe. Perhaps with time it will improve, but I am not holding my breath.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Since we found out it opened, we've been there four times. the House Favorite Appetizer platter is big enough for a meal and their minced beef wrapped in Grape Leaves is nothing short of heavenly. My goal is to try everything on the menu... last night was the lemongrass beef pho... it was hearty and just hot enough... (it didn't blow the top of my head off) hubby had the appetizer platter for dinner (again, he's a one trick pony) the beef was delicate in texture and melted in my mouth... the beef tendons in the soup were also quite tender, but not to the point of mushy .
            The time before that I had the Grileld Chicken Bun... the chicken was flavorful and juicy... the time before that I had the fish in clay pot... bold, salty sweet flavors, it comes to the table sizzling wildly in it's signature clay pot with a beautiful patina. The first time I went, I stayed 'conservative' and had the chicken summer roll and then chicken pho. the summer roll is as pretty as it is tasty... it's full of shrimp and veggies. Service for us has always been spot on...we've never had to wait for anything.....I can't say enough great things about this place... the food is fresh, and delicious, the kitchen is spotless (ok, it's new)
            Heads up to those of us who already found this little gem, there was an article in the Reporter yesterday, and last night the place was BUSY! I'm afraid that we're going to have to have reservations to get a table soon.

            1. re: cgarner

              That is such good news in today's economy cgarner. Schlepsyman and I have long been waiting for them to open, I think their sign was up early last summer. Do you know if they take credit cards yet? I know that can take awhile to set up.

              1. re: givemecarbs

                My famil and I have eaten there about 5 times now, to the point where the owners and servers know us well. We just had lunch there the other day and it was quite crowded! As I have said, they also know us quite well at Vietnam Cafe in Telford and we have been comparing the two places. Saigon definitely has much better atmosphere and service but we give the nod in food to Vietnam Cafe (I love Pho Tai and Vietnam Cafe's is definitely better). In general we find Saigon's food to be a bit bland and not as flavorful as Vietnam Cafe's, but they are much closer to us (5 minutes vs. 20 minutes). Saigon is also a fair bit more expensive as well. We will continue to go to both places. And yes, givemecarbs, they do take credit cards. Maybe I'll see you there sometime!

                1. re: Schpsychman

                  Kewl Schpsychman! Does the telford place take credit cards as well? This is a good time of year to expand my horizons. I can't afford to go to Guadalupe for two weeks like John's mom, so I will have to content myself with exploring new cuisine. Sure you don't want to come to Assi with us hounds when we go on the 7th of feb.?

                  1. re: givemecarbs

                    Yes, Vietnam Cafe does take credit cards as well (over $20 I believe). I thought I missed the Assi trip, perhaps I will join you as it is in my backyard and I don't really know the place at all.

                    1. re: Schpsychman

                      Naw got canceled due to weather report, think it is now feb 7th, sat at six pm. I'm sure chefpaulo will post when the time gets closer. Ha! If it had actually happened, do you think we could have shut up about it? Expect many posts after if it actually fires this time. Thanks for the info about the cc. Now I really have no excuse not to try Vietnam Cafe. Maybe tomorrow. What should a noob order their first time there? Or noobs if I can drag John along.

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        Regarding the group activity you are discussing, please note the following:

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                        1. re: givemecarbs

                          I am a huge fan of Pho Tai (#7 at Vietnam Cafe), could eat it all the time and it is really good there. My kids love all of the vermicelli dishes, especially #20 (vermicelli with fried rolls and BBQ pork). For an app, their fresh rolls with shrimp and pork are fantastic (#27b we really like). That being said, we've really never had anything bad there. Grab a nice white wine or a few lagers and enjoy! Let me know how you likeit if you go....Oh I almost forgot! They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays!

                          1. re: Schpsychman

                            Thanks Schpsychman! Was thinking of going tomorrow so I appreciate the heads up on the hours as well as the eats.

              2. re: cwdonald

                John has become fixated on the new burrito bar machismo or something a few doors down and as we were taking an after taco stroll I noticed that saigon is temporarily closed but new management is taking over soon. I don't know what happened but the owner was always extremely kind to my uncle and even gave him a ride to the train station once.

            2. I went to Saigon last night w/ my wife and daughter and we really enjoyed it. We have been eating vietnamese food for years and frequent the best in the area which are Vietnam in Phila and Little Saigon in Atlantic City. While it is not on the same level as those places the food was good, the service was pleasant and the space was modern and clean. We live in Bucks Co near Doylestown and we will be eating there often.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ChefRich

                What was your favorite dish there chefrich? Might do some take out tonite.

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  I just happen to have the menu in my coat pocket. We got the combo appitizer platter which is listed as #1 (spring rolls, grilled meatballs and grilled beef in grape leaves) You could also order them seperately. We had an order of summer rolls#3, which are the non- fried cold rolls with shrimp and pork . For soup we had #18 roasted pork, wonton ,egg noodles and greens And we also had #31 which is grilled pork chop. All of the dishes were good. Word of caution, the fried spring rolls and vietnamese food in general is better fresh than take-out. I still take it out though and have found that heating the fried spring rolls in the oven at high temp for a few minutes crisps them up. Good Luck

                  1. re: ChefRich

                    My two cents on Vietnam Cafe (responding to givemecarbs) First, it's not scary-- very clean and homey. Most of the waitstaff speak lousy English, though, so lotsa luck asking any questions or making special requests.
                    I think they're closed on Tuesdays.
                    If you're taking newbies who want to ease into Vietnamese food, how about something like grilled shrimp on broken rice? Also all those noodle bowls are pretty un-challenging.
                    I love their soup #7, but the last two times it didn't have any tripe (I think it's "omosa" on the menu) in it, dissapointingly.
                    Once you get your food, if you need anything else or want to pay, you'll have to go up front and tell them. I like that- it's nice to be left alone.

                    1. re: watercress

                      Thanks watercress! It was very thoughtful of you to give me those tips. Now that I understand the restaurant culture there I will have a better time. I agree with you about being left alone. I usually dine with my one friend (not John) and we get into some pretty interesting conversations, and it can be jarring to be interupted five times during our meal. That was my pet peeve about the late salford pub, not only would they interupt incesantly, their waitresses would disappear entirely when you wanted the check. Grilled shrimp, mmmmm.

              2. Tried saigon@main for lunch saturday 2/1 with the wife, 1st time trying any vietnam resturant. Food was very good quality and wait staff very helpful, jury still out on vietman cuisine, but if your are a fan... i recommend this place .

                1. Crispy noodle dishes are well executed and delicately sauced. I am warming to the place.