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Mar 7, 2009 11:56 PM

Mekong Delta Cafe- Baltimore

(105 W. Saratoga St., (410) 244-8677)

Someone brought food in to work from here the other day and it was GREAT. Summer rolls were awesome, pork roll had crispy meat but in a well done, flavorful, bursting with herbs and vermicelli roll. Chicken fried rice was also very deep -- didnt have the pho first hand but heard that it was great. A more traveled co-worker said this is about as good as you would find in the US. And it was certainly inexpensive.

Definitely looking for some more opinions, but the food was great and some folks should get out there and check it out.

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  1. What Turkeybone said. Run, don't walk. Southwest corner of Saratoga and Cathedral.

    1 Reply
    1. I have been twice now for lunch (twice in one week!) The owner waits tables while his wife mans the kitchen in the back. Their two sons scramble through the restaurant from their home above.

      The lunch specials (about 10 or so) are all $4.95 and include a glass of iced green tea (too weak for my taste, but the hot tea is nice).

      A friend and I split the curried tofu and vegetables and the lemongrass tofu, along with a vegetarian summer roll. The roll is loosely packed and the delightfully fresh ingredients do tend to spill out over the plate. I love the grilled baby corn in the roll.

      I returned to try their vegetarian pho – lovely! Each table has bottles of hoisin and Schricha sauces along with the Schricha brand chili/garlic jar.

      The service at lunch is slow. I don't think they've quite worked out how to handle the lunchtime rush. But as long as you're prepared to wait, and have a little more than an hour for lunch, it's a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. I can't wait to go back.

      1. Thanks for the head's up. I am going to try to check this place out this week, and will report back. I don't think I speak/write only for myself when I say that a decent to good Asian food place downtown is on a lot of our foodie wish lists.

        They are open for dinner, yes?


        4 Replies
        1. re: baltoellen

          Sounds great! Yes, are there dinner hours? Let us know what you think Ellen!

          1. re: hon

            I have a menu.

            Sun-Thu 10am - 10pm
            Fri & Sat 10am-10:30pm

            I just had lemon grass tofu and goi cuon for lunch. Both great.

            Let's support this place!


            1. re: Big Bunny

              DO you or anyone else have a menu to post?

              Also, Ricky just published his review today!

              1. re: gregb

                Darn late night coffee is keeping me up. Thought I'd make myself useful and scan the menu for you. Enjoy!

                Side 1:

                Side 2:

        2. Am back from dinner there: and, well, have to concur with the raves: Mekong Delta Cafe is a little gem. We ordered the summer rolls, which were, as Turkeybone said, awesome. We had the lemongrass beef with rice noodles, a dish just bursting with flavor. We also ordered rare beef pho, but received beef broth with chicken. I'm actually unsure if this was their normal pho ga, or if there was some mistake and they put chicken in beef broth, but whatever! it, too, was great. (BTW, the beef broth was very different from any I've had, and is really wonderful.)

          The place is simple, warm, and welcoming. The young couple who run it seem like lovely people.

          A very welcome addition to the area, and we will definitely be back, and soon!

          4 Replies
          1. re: baltoellen

            Agree with everyone's raves. We had the lemongrass tofu which was awesome. Also, I had rare beef pho with beef. Great. Broth filled with delcious anise flavor. Really excellent. Interesting that they don't give you basil but give cilantro with the pho, but still awesome. A much more complex and interesting Pho than offered at the ROute 40 places. Also, they specially made a vegetarian broth soup for my wife. Their vegetarian dishes are not all truly vegetarian as they made include beef or chicken broth. That said, the young couple is more than willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy. Delicious cold jasmine tea as well. Great little place. Cash only. The husband of the couple used to be a high school English teacher in Baltimore, then returned to his native Vietnam where he met his wife and now they've returned to Baltimore after 8 years in Vietnam. Support this place, it's not perfect, but I would compare it to another local gem(Grace Garden) that has become a real favorite. This place has a ton of potential. The Vietnamese pancakes looked delicious---other people there were eating them.

            1. re: baltymoron

              Hi Balty...

              I was told that the vegetarian soup (which they don't call pho, btw) is vegetable stock. The owner explained that the broth wouldn't taste like pho. I'll have to inquire again next time I go since chicken stock is obviously not vegetarian.

              1. re: ktracy

                I spent about 25 minutes there two nights ago waiting for my to go order. I explained to the owner that while some of the items labeled vegetarian are most certainly vegetarian, that a vegetable dish with any meat or fish in it can not be called vegetarian. (vegetable is not the same as vegetarian) If they now say that their vegetarian soup is made with vegetable stock, then that is great, and they have changed their tune. As of two nights ago, the vegetable soup was made with "a small amount of chicken" according to the owner. His wife made a special version for us that was truly vegetarian and was delicious. The soup that she made did not have the dark beef broth flavor of Pho. It is possible to make a real Pho tasting vegetarian soup. Several places in my Seattle hometown(Than Brothers, Pho Cyclo, others) make fantastic true vegetarian Pho. That said, I'm thrilled to have Mekong in the area. These guys are excellent and have a great thing going.

                1. re: baltymoron

                  Just to clarify: I'm pretty sure--although by no means certain--that the word "pho" refers to noodles and not to broth.

          2. I just had dinner there this evening. The spring rolls had plump fresh shrimp, juicy pork crisp cucumbers, and vermicelli.

            The pho was the best I have ever tasted. The broth was intense and deeply flavored. I am excited to have this gem so close to home. Baltimore has been needing a pho joint in the city!

            1 Reply
            1. re: amethiste

              wow... a place that has pho and has vegetarian options? I'm somewhat shocked... I loved having what was labeled the vegetarian pho at a couple places in dc, but wondered why i got sick often after (thought it was just the hangover lol), and then realized that they were made with beef stock....