The Vietnam in Ridgewood!
Someone posted a message on the NYState board that the owners of the Vietnam have opened a sister restaurant in Ridgewood called the Mekong Grill. Have not tried the new place yet, but the Vietnam is perhaps one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants EVER. If it's anything like their SpringValley place, life in Bergen County just got better.
Good news, will have to try the place. This is a nice addition to the poor state of Ridgewood dining lately. Don't forget though, that in Tenafly on the other side of the county, there is the wonderful Simply Vietnamese, that moved to larger quarters from Englewood and continues to churn out wonderful Vietnamese-style dishes nightly. The Pho here is the absolute BEST on this side of the Pacific!!
P.S. Also nice to see a post about Bergen County, it gets very little play on CH New Jersey...
Tried out Simply Vietnamese 2 weeks ago and, aside from it being close to my house, I don't think I'll be back. The pho was decent (though not the best I've had- I prefer the Vietnam's) and strangely didn't include Holy Basil, a pho mainstay. Tried the pad thai and it was also ok, although I had a piece of chicken with unpalatable cartilage in it that really grossed me out. I was disappointed that the menu is more "southeast asian" rather than simply Vietnamese and the fact they took the amazing cripsy tofu entree they used to offer Saigon R had in the Englewood shop. Finally, I get the Tenafly is expensive, but this had to be the priciest Vietnamese food I've eaten. I'm ok with paying more, but i want more better.
Hoping Mekong Grill will satisfy Bergen County's need for great Vietnamese and I will report back once I go.
Hmmm. You must have had an off night. We have been several dozen times to the place since it opened 8 years ago in Englewood. The Pho is awesome, it is one of the few we've found that is steeped for a day and a half by KT (owner-chef) and the complex flavors of the anise broth shine through. I've had pho in several other places in NY and NJ and it doesn't approach this one.
Pad Thai? Hmmm. That's perhaps a "pan asian" addition to the menu, better had at a Thai restaurant. Yes, some of the dishes are "KT-ized" for the American palate and are not truly authentic, but most of the dishes are unique and have a wonderful creative touch as well as a unique blend of sauces and spices. My tried and true dishes there are the Pork Chops, the Basa Fish, Aromatic Duck, French Beefsteak Salad, and ... my absolute favorite, the New Zealand Mussels with wasabi-ginger. We've had many a wonderful meal at this place.
"...and strangely didn't include Holy Basil, a pho mainstay..."
Hmm, I didn't think Holy Basil was a mainstay of Phở ; what is usually served with it is húng quế (in Vietnamese) or 'horapha' (in Thai), otherwise usually known as "Thai Basil", with those reddish stems. It is a variety of Ocimum basilicum. Holy Basil would be "kraphao" in Thai, a variety of Ocimum tenuiflorum (or Ocimum sanctum).
Ngò gai (culantro)(not cilantro) would be a garnish that is also offered in the southern (Vietnam) variants of Phở and is sometimes taken by some folks as a mark of quality of the restaurant serving the Phở.
So after blabbing about Mekong Grill in Ridgewood, I had to check it out...went there this afternoon with my dude. Long story short: great food, adequate service, & way more atmosphere than the Vietnam.
Pho Tai- Fabulous- and just as terrific as Spring Valley's
Bahn Xeo: Vietnamese Pancake- Best one I've ever had- no grease & crispy throughout.
Vietnamese Fajita (don't know what the proper name is): Perfectly cooked/served
Bun Triple Threat: Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp with pressed noodles: Very Good
My only complaints:
1. the waitron was very young, didn't know the menu, and wasn't (it seemed) familiar with Vietnamese food (or waiting on tables).. Nice, but inexperienced.
2. New Vietnamese pop music: Maybe i'm old fashioned, but I prefer the old stuff (80's Viet. music) at Spring Valley
Pricewise, Mekong is about 1-2$ more expensive/menu item, though I expected this with Ridgewood rents. Value for the money was good.
Atmosphere: Anyone familiar with Vietnam in Spring Valley knows it's a mom and pop shop. Somewhat harsh lighting, cock sauce/chopsticks/spoons/hoisin on the table. What it lacks in traditional atmosphere, it makes up for in warmth...the staff there will always remember you and treat you like family. Mekong has DATE NIGHT written all over- it's kinda sexy with orange walls, dark wood fixtures and good lighting. This is the place to take your future significant other who's never had Vietnamese food out to dinner on a Saturday night, whereas Spring Valley is the kinda spot you hit on a Sunday Afternoon with yer significant other after 7 years of being together.
Would I go back: absolutely. Life in BC did just get a little tastier.
Inspired by this discussion, I got takeout there last night -- really good food and reasonable prices! I love Vietnamese food and have missed it since moving here from the West Coast, so I hope Mekong Grill thrives in Ridgewood. Based on sixelagogo's post, I ordered the pho tai ($9 for huge bowl that could serve two) and bun triple threat ($13). I also ordered spring rolls ($7 for 2 good-size ones) and Vietnamese pork chops ($11). All were excellent: fresh, clean flavors with a tasty char on the meats. Next time I'll try the banh mi ($6) for lunch.
Bergen county just got better! Time to celebrate, finally a great reasonable restaurant in Ridgewood with wonderful , fresh food. We are big time vietnamese food lovers. We love Vietnam in Spring Valley but hate the atmosphere and ride there. Found this place by chance and then found out it was the same family as Vietnam and couldn't have been happier.
We had to shrimp crepe wrapped it up in lettuce and mint, delicious. Then the bun was just perfect i got honey chicken, with the right amount of noodles, cucumber and crunchies, they also served it with little yummy eggrolls. The atmosphere is really nice, the service was great, and friendly. The people are really nice . I can't wait to go back. I give it an EXCELLENT.
Look out Dim sum dynasty, even though i love you, i think i love this more and it's probably healthier.
kind of stumbled upon this place tonight, and so glad we did. Really loved it, the food took really long but it was great. Had the ground pork bun, with vermacelli and lettuce, shrimp stir fried noodles, and tempura crab roll. The kids really liked it too. I now have to try the Spring Valley location. plus it being byob is a nice thing too. Had the sticky rice, grilled banana for dessert, with peanut, also interesting tastes and good.