Blue Lagoon (St. Paul, Rice Street/Capitol)
I'm right now eating the best bun I've ever had in the Twin Cities. It's a bun chay (mock duck noodle salad) from Blue Lagoon on Rice Street.
An unlikely place (small, stand-alone building), just north of the disaster zone that is University right now, this little restaurant shows real promise.
Take a look at their menu http://www.bluelagoonmn.com/: tempting offerings across the spectrum of what they call, "various royal cuisines from the Nguyen Dynasty, a fusion of royal Vietnamese and French cuisines."
I drive by every day, noticed the name change when the place was transformed from the former (and unrelated) Lagoon Restaurant, and finally ordered to-go today the bun chay and a bun thit nuong cha gio (eggroll and grilled pork noodle salad). Really exemplary. At an unbelievable $6.95 each.
Help to keep this little charmer in business!
I went today and thought it mediocre. I ordered the special Bun with beef, shrimp, and eggroll. Thought it odd that it came "deconstructed" in that all the elements were separate on a plate (not in a bowl). It was awkward and messy putting it together. The meat was salty (not from fish sauce, but actual salt), the shrimp was OK, and the eggroll was downright dripping with oil.
Not on my recommend list.
Well, I'm going to give it a few more tries. My take-out bun were fully and nicely assembled; all was very fresh and flavorful. BTW, I had a Vietnamese friend who once told me that urban Vietnamese eat with forks, not chopsticks--unless they're eating Chinese food. Maybe Blue Lagoon, with its Hue cuisine (which they describe as Royal Vietnamese and French) favors forks for similar reasons.