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Phuong Trang V. Saigon SD

I gave PT another chance last night after a two disappointing visits within the past year or two - I think it may have struck out. Unless you guys can recommend some great dishes I need to try there, I don't see my self going back.

Saigon does everything I've had at both better and doesn't seem as 'tight' with ingredients.

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  1. I'd avoid the pho there... pretty bland and tasteless. Greasy, too, which is really unfortunate for a soup.

    Beef with caul fat is one of their winners. All of their com tam (broken rice) is pretty good, too. Also, try their spicy lemon grass beef... it's really good with rice. The grilled catfish isn't bad, either.

    2 Replies
    1. re: geekyfoodie

      Do you think that PT does one of the best Com Tam in San Diego? If not, where would you recommend?

      I've had the Caul Fat dish at Saigon with Josh - I really liked it - so I will have to give that one a spin.

      The appetizer grilled beef at Saigon is pretty sublime dusted with crushed peanuts and nuoc cham

      1. re: kare_raisu

        I'd have to say that it's up there with some of the best com tam in SD, because I haven't tried a place that does it better. With that said, however, I definitely don't get out as much as you and Kirk do, so take the "best com tam" vote with a grain of salt.

    2. Have you tried Mien Trung yet? If not, what are you waiting for? :-)

      5 Replies
      1. re: Josh

        go there for the Hue soup right? What else? the steamed tapioca appetizer?

        1. re: kare_raisu

          I had Bun Bo Hue, Bun Oc, and these banana leaf-wrapped glutinous rice flour things w/ pork, shrimp, and peppercorns inside. All three were good.

          1. re: Josh

            Josh - We had the Banh Bot Loc the time we visited. Is that what you're referring to? My wife loves the Bun Rieu at Mien Trung as well.

            1. re: KirkK

              Yes, that's it. Thanks. I wasn't going to remember that name.

            2. re: Josh

              I always forget about Mien Trung and it's a shame because their Bun Bo Hue is probably one of my favorite soups in SD. Thanks for putting it to the front of my mind.

        2. I truly believe that Phuong Trang has gone downhill since the daughters took over from their parents a couple of years back. It's become more Americanized. The one good thing about the Com Tam dishes at Phuong Trang is the Com Tam itself, which is usually good and fragrant, a rarity in San Diego. Unfortunately, I've found the Bi to be terrible, and my usual favorite item, the "Cha" is has become more and more bland over the years, and I've had it pretty dry a few times. As for the Bo Nuong Mo Chai, it has been good on occasion, and mushy on others. I'm not sure if you've been to Pagolac in Westminster, but the Bo Nuong Mo Chai there is my standard.... it has some toothfulness.
          Not that I'm a big fan of Saigon either.......

          1. I haven't been to Mien Trung, but between Saigon and Phuong Trang it's PT all the way. I've never been a fan of Saigon. Every dish I've had there has either come out cold or tasted like the meat had been sitting under a heat lamp first. And the service was the usual rush and then disappear. The place isn't the cleanest restaurant in San Diego either, I'm sorry to say. I enjoy Phuong Trang much more. Better dishes and service, better atmosphere, easier menu to navigate (any place that does 200+ dishes is obviously not making everything to order), and it's easier to get to (not that that has anything to do with the food). I don't get the Pho at PT, since it's done better elsewhere, but I enjoy most everything else that I've had on the menu.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cookieshoes

              Interesting. How many times have you been to Saigon? I've gone innumerable times, and haven't ever gotten anything cold that wasn't meant to be. I'm also curious about the cleanliness comment, and the food not being made to order. I've never noticed it to be unclean, and there are items I've ordered where they've forewarned me about a lengthy wait to prepare certain items.

              1. re: Josh

                Over the years, I don't know, a half dozen. I'm not much for being a repeat visitor to places that I haven't had good experiences at.

                I've never had to wait on anything that I've ordered there. It's usually come out alarmingly quick, which is why the suspicion goes off. Then again, I never went there to order whole baked fish or anything like that.

                As for the cleanliness, I'm no neat freak, but the table setup in the dining room there is more like a cafeteria than a sit-down. All that tile on the floor and the marble tabletops with no placemats or cloth makes things a little "sticky" at times.