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Saigonese-Vietnamese-Central Ave-Hartsdale-Has Opened!

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Jon1856 Feb 5, 2013 08:41 PM

Yes-After many, all too many delays, Saigonese has opened.
158 South Central Park Ave
Hartsdale, NY 10530
914-288-9088
Open six (6) days a week
Tues-Thurs: 11:00 AM -9:00 PM
Fri & Sat: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
Sun: 12:00 (Noon)-9:00 PM
Mon: CLOSED
Location: Just South of The Four Corners on left/East Side. Across street from furnicher and crib store.
And yes, left turn there can, can be rather "fun"/interesting at times.
So: Wait a few minutes, use the wider lot just next door for turn, or go to next strip center on the right and use their parking lot to get to traffic light to make your U-turn back North.

Small spot +/- 30 seats.
And they are still working on a web site. All all too many other issues to worry about, work on and fix.

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  1. l
    liza219 RE: Jon1856 Feb 5, 2013 09:37 PM

    I know where I'm going this weekend! I wish I could get a good idea of what they offer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: liza219
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      Jon1856 RE: liza219 Feb 6, 2013 09:14 AM

      I understand your posting/thoughts liza219. One could drop by and take a look see at menu there or just walk in and experience it.

      They do offer more than a few dishes that are vegetarian friendly.

    2. Sra. Swanky RE: Jon1856 Feb 6, 2013 05:14 AM

      Yay! Thanks for the parking tips. Looking forward to this!!

      1. d
        DkNNy79 RE: Jon1856 Feb 6, 2013 11:37 AM

        Went for lunch with a co-worker today. Place was packed, so food took awhile to come out. Hopefully, just opening jitters. My co-worker had the grilled pork w/vermicelli and she said it was delicious. I had the pho ga, which was pretty good, but my mom's is slightly better. Hoping to try a new dish each time I go.

        6 Replies
        1. re: DkNNy79
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          Jon1856 RE: DkNNy79 Feb 6, 2013 12:10 PM

          Thank you for comments. Even without any (more) opening jitters, the only "draw-back" that this restaurant may have is its size. Can only seat, per fire-codes, +/- 34 people. And when I was there last night, I was told that may even hold true when outside patio is open!?!?!?!? Which is another one of those matters that they plan on checking on when the time comes for that.

          1. re: DkNNy79
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            budinado RE: DkNNy79 Feb 6, 2013 12:14 PM

            Driving north on Central Ave. we almost missed the place. It is about half a mile south of Four Corners and comes up just after passing a Gulf station on your left. The restaurant is on the East side of Central Ave. with a small but adequately sized parking lot.
            Being Vegans, my wife and I ordered Vegetarian Spring Rolls, Mixed Vegetarian Noodle, Vegetarian in Clay Pot and Rainbow Ice. Everything served was delicious and this restaurant may well be the best Asian spot in Westchester right now, although I must admit being partial to Vietnamese cooking. There is no lunch menu and I did not see Bahn Mai sandwiches listed. Two large Casablanca fans, and some nice artwork give the interior a nice exotic, languid flavor.
            We were incorrectly served Summer Rolls instead of Spring Rolls but I didn't complain since they were large, with a generous portion of deep brown peanut sauce. The sauce turned out to be a little gloppy and needed a bit more peanut flavor and zing but the rolls were quite tasty. Next were Vermicelli noodles with mixed vegetables on top. Excellent dish! We also enjoyed the Clay Pot although it mistakenly contained fried tofu instead of the "fish like" soy protein listed on the menu. This tofu had an unusually chewy consistency and was served with onions in a unique and flavorful sauce reminiscent of Thai fish sauce. A portion of Rainbow Ice was the perfect dessert. Cocanut milk, cashews, red bean and jelly, fortunately not too sweet. We tried to order lychee drink, longan drink and a smoothie, all on the menu but not available just yet.
            Saigonese had a few glitches, but overall this was a pleasantly successful meal. We are lucky to finally have the option of competently prepared Vietnamese cuisine in our area and I can enthusiastically recommend this restaurant.

            1. re: budinado
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              mrsdebdav RE: budinado Feb 6, 2013 05:55 PM

              Hi budinado,
              As a vegetarian, I so appreciate your review. I live about 2 miles from this resto, and I hope it will become a regular on my rotation. Thank you so much for your input.
              My only concern is the peanut sauce (which I love). Did you have to specify no fish sauce? How did you handle the whole fish sauce issue?
              Thanks again.

              1. re: mrsdebdav
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                budinado RE: mrsdebdav Feb 6, 2013 06:28 PM

                I believe their "Special Sauce" is free of fish sauce since it is listed only with vegetarian dishes . Those dishes with fish Sauce are clearly labeled. There is also Vegetable Hot Pot that comes with a clear vegetable broth which I plan to sample next time. Under the "Vegetables" Menu there are the following additional dishes: Mixed Vegetable Saigon Style (with or without tofu), Asparagus w Garlic in Special Sauce and String Bean w Garlic in Special Sauce. For me, enough to choose from.

              2. re: budinado
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                liza219 RE: budinado Feb 6, 2013 09:58 PM

                Thanks for the review! I'm hoping to stop by this weekend. I'd love suggestions, being it would be a new fuisine to me.

                1. re: liza219
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                  liza219 RE: liza219 Feb 7, 2013 10:02 PM

                  I'm so bummed by the blizzard coming......I wanted to stop by this weekend :( Maybe things will clear up by Saturday? I hope it won't impeed too much on business, given the delayed opening.

            2. f
              foodiemom10583 RE: Jon1856 Feb 7, 2013 06:03 AM

              We loved it.

              The Exotic Saigon Roll (Bo Bia Sai Gon) was pretty tasty. The "sausage" was much closer in taste and appearance to sliced sweet soppressata than the dried Asian sausages I've had previously. It was porky and a bit fatty in the way that good soppressata should be. If you get the rolls, try them without the dipping sauce. When you can distinguish the individual ingredients in the roll as you chew, it is much tastier.

              The Exotic Mango Salad (Goi Xoai Song) was lovely and fresh. The julienned mango was mostly ripe but not overly sweet or mushy. The shrimp were probably marinated and each was sliced in two along the back. There were plenty (at least 5 whole shrimp) and they were really fresh and sweet. No carrots, but lots of basil and roasted peanuts.

              My favorite was the Beef in Grape Leaves (Banh Hoi Bo La Lot). They looked like odd little peanut-studded beef sachets. The leaves were a little dry, but for me, that only enhanced the tasty, finely ground meat inside. There was a nice citrus tang and probably some garlic mixed in with the beef. There were 6 "sachets" in all and because I was sharing, I wished for more than the three allocated to me.

              My son, new to Vietnamese flavors, loved the Chicken Saigonese. There were two portions of chicken breasts that were spice-coated and grilled, sprinkled with herbs and peanuts and served over sticky rice. It smelled divine and was gone before I could taste it.

              The prices were reasonable and the portions were perfectly appropriate. I can't wait to go back for more!

              1. k
                kyoko219 RE: Jon1856 Feb 7, 2013 10:18 AM

                I stopped by last night to pick up a printed menu. Hope it uploads correctly!

                For a Wed night, about 30 min before closing, the dining area was pretty full. Can't wait to try it myself.

                 
                1 Reply
                1. re: kyoko219
                  MisterBill2 RE: kyoko219 Feb 8, 2013 04:53 PM

                  Thanks for posting the menu. Too bad Chowhound reduces photos to a size that makes menus almost unreadable after people go to the trouble of uploading them.

                2. k
                  kyoko219 RE: Jon1856 Feb 7, 2013 10:21 AM

                  Here is the back page of the menu (didn't let me upload both at the same time...)

                   
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                    lemarais RE: Jon1856 Feb 7, 2013 12:17 PM

                    How's the Pho? I don't see my favorite, with raw beef that you throw in and the hot soup cooks it as you eat. Did the pho have that deep, 24 hour anise flavor?

                    I Also saw NO fish or seafood dishes. What's up with that? I just love Basa fish!!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lemarais
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                      foodiemom10583 RE: lemarais Feb 7, 2013 12:39 PM

                      I think the dish you are referring to is a hot pot, not pho.

                      Fish and seafood dishes by number:

                      3. Goi cuon, Shrimp summer roll;
                      8. Goi du du, Green papaya salad with shrimp;
                      9. Goi xoai song, Exotic mango salad with shrimp;
                      13. Banh hoi chao tom, Grilled shrimp paste on sugar cane;
                      25. Mi Saigonese pho (includes shrimp, pork, fish ball, and squid);
                      26. Lau thap cam dac biet, Hot pot Saigonese style (includes shrimp, beef, tilapia, scallop, squid, fish ball, and fish cake);
                      34. Ca kho to, Fish in clay pot;
                      35. Tom kho to, Shrimp in clay pot; and
                      38. Canh chua, Tamarind soup (made with fish, shrimp, or tofu).

                      I am not sure if you viewed the full menu.

                      1. re: foodiemom10583
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                        Jon1856 RE: foodiemom10583 Feb 7, 2013 09:35 PM

                        # 20-# 25 are all Pho-They are all Rice Noodle Eggg Noodle Soups.
                        I had Pho Ga-Chicken Noodle and my mom had Pho Sai-Gon-House special noodle soup. (Take out first open night) Both were rather good.

                      2. re: lemarais
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                        DkNNy79 RE: lemarais Feb 7, 2013 12:44 PM

                        I had the chicken pho and thought it was pretty good. My mom's pho is awesome and this was close. I could be biased though. Mom's pho is what I grew up with.

                        I am surprised there are no fish dishes. Maybe they will expand their dishes once they get more settled?

                        1. re: DkNNy79
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                          foodiemom10583 RE: DkNNy79 Feb 7, 2013 01:07 PM

                          There are actually ten dishes that are predominantly fish or seafood (see my post above).

                          Wish we could try your mom's pho!

                      3. l
                        liza219 RE: Jon1856 Feb 7, 2013 10:13 PM

                        Can anyone explain the grilled shrimp on sugar cane? Sounds good.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: liza219
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                          foodiemom10583 RE: liza219 Feb 8, 2013 06:02 AM

                          I had it years ago. It is shrimp paste (finely chopped and seasoned shrimp mixed into a paste) that is molded over a thick stalk of sugar cane and probably grilled.

                          1. re: foodiemom10583
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                            liza219 RE: foodiemom10583 Feb 9, 2013 11:14 PM

                            Thanks! I looked it up online, too. Looks and sounds good. I was looking at prices for Vietnamese-the Viet Nam restaurant in spring valley (Rockland)-they have similar prices. So, for the area, I'd say it's very reasonable. With rent, Insurance, taxes, etc. They"ll have to sell a lot, to survive. I know I will be helping a little, when I get the chance-if the roads can be decent this week!
                            I wish them the best!

                        2. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: Jon1856 Feb 8, 2013 05:15 AM

                          Thanks for the reviews, all you intrepid CHs who made it there already! Looks like I won't get there this weekend but I made plans to go next weekend. Very excited!

                          1. l
                            lemarais RE: Jon1856 Feb 8, 2013 10:41 AM

                            OK, so a couple of shrimp hot pots. No seafood without a hot pot. And no Basa fish, the requisite Vietnamese fish, such nice flounder-like texture but with a unique flavor. (Tilapia, yuk!)

                            And no Pho with raw beef cooked in the hot soup.

                            Does the Pho have a great 24 hour anise steeped flavor?

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: lemarais
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                              foodiemom10583 RE: lemarais Feb 8, 2013 01:13 PM

                              The raw beef dish to which you are referring is a hot pot.

                              There is only one seafood hot pot on the menu.

                              There are 9 other seafood/fish dishes on the menu that are NOT hot pots, thereby rendering your statement, "no seafood without a hot pot," as incorrect. I would be happy to list them for you yet again.

                              It seems that most of us here want to give this place a good chance at succeeding, especially since everyone who's been there has had positive things to say about it (myself included), not to mention the rough time they had getting started.

                              It may be more productive to write about what you've actually eaten there rather than kvetching about what you think they don't have.

                              1. re: foodiemom10583
                                JMF RE: foodiemom10583 Feb 8, 2013 04:37 PM

                                lemarais has solid points. The raw beef cooked in pho is NOT hot pot. It is a very common style of pho where thinly sliced raw round is laid on top of the boiling hot pho. It cooks in front of you. Also the request for information about if the pho has that long simmered flavor.

                                lemarais sounds like someone, like myself, who is hoping that this is real authentic Vietnamese food. I for one am very skeptical when I see the price for a pho dac biet at $9.50 a bowl. That is astronomical. I have never seen that for over $6, and more usually a buck or two less.

                                I am waiting a few days before going, but having had Vietnamese food at many places in NYC, Vancouver, Seattle, and having been to Vietnam numerous times, I hope for the best.

                                1. re: JMF
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                                  foodiemom10583 RE: JMF Feb 8, 2013 05:02 PM

                                  You and lemarais should meet there for lunch. :)

                                  1. re: foodiemom10583
                                    JMF RE: foodiemom10583 Feb 8, 2013 05:14 PM

                                    I really have my fingers crossed that the food is authentic and good. But the prices worry me. When you see food like this, at prices 60-80% higher than the norm, it's usually not a good sign.

                                    1. re: JMF
                                      MisterBill2 RE: JMF Feb 8, 2013 05:19 PM

                                      It's Westchester and Cental Avenue, what do you expect?

                                      1. re: JMF
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                                        DkNNy79 RE: JMF Feb 8, 2013 06:23 PM

                                        I'm vietnamese and I found their pho (chicken) to be very authentic. Like I've stated earlier almost as good as mom. I don't eat red meat, so I can't attest to their beef pho. Their menu is small compared to their NYC counterparts, but they just opened. I think they will add more dishes in the future if the demand is there.

                                        1. re: DkNNy79
                                          JMF RE: DkNNy79 Feb 8, 2013 08:09 PM

                                          that's very nice to hear about their pho ga.

                                        2. re: MisterBill2
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                                          budinado RE: MisterBill2 Feb 9, 2013 12:18 PM

                                          To be honest, I expect prices commensurate with Manhattan, Long Island or Rockland County. That's not what we see here. A typical Manhattan Vietnamese restaurant on 9th Ave. is about 25% less expensive than Saigonese. The owners have the right to charge what they like, but at this price point they are unlikely to draw a large following for lunch.

                                          1. re: budinado
                                            roxlet RE: budinado Feb 9, 2013 12:34 PM

                                            Why? I am no more or less price sensitive for lunch than I would be for dinner. Though this may be more expensive than similar restaurants in Manhattan, the fact is that it doesn't seem expensive at all to me. Add that to the fact that they're the only game in town, and I think they will do a land office business as long as the food is good. I have a lunch date there this week myself.

                              2. j
                                jwg RE: Jon1856 Feb 8, 2013 06:06 PM

                                Went on Wednesday for lunch and we were very pleased. We ordered two appetizers, then shared the seafood hot pot. The summer roll was very good, although I wondered if the sauce had been scorched. Unless that's the taste of the sauce for a summer roll. I've only had it a few times, and don't recall eating it with sauce. The shrimp were perfectly cooked, and very high quality. The second appetizer was a rice crepe filled with and minced pork. That was wonderful, with fried onions on top. The seafood hot pot was very good as well. The broth was very flavorful, and the tofu in the broth was silky. My first choice of beverage was not available yet, but the fresh lemon soda was delicious, even on a cold February day. The beef and leek appetizer which we had chosen was not available as the server admitted that they did not like how it was turning out. I am glad that they have such high standards, and I'll return again to try it soon. Service was a little slow, but as the restaurant had not been open 24 hours, I attribute that to first day jitters. The staff was so happy and friendly. I definitely look forward to returning to try other items on the menu. No bahn mi on the menu, but I was promised that it would be seen on the menu as a special.

                                1. l
                                  lemarais RE: Jon1856 Feb 9, 2013 03:07 PM

                                  Any reports of the deep, anise flavor in the Pho?

                                  And where's the Basa fish? Love that fish in a nice ginger sauce!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lemarais
                                    chowdom RE: lemarais Feb 9, 2013 03:54 PM

                                    Seriously lemarais, just take one for the "team" and try it yourself and report back!

                                  2. b
                                    beefa RE: Jon1856 Feb 10, 2013 07:40 AM

                                    do they have a liquor license?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: beefa
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                                      Jon1856 RE: beefa Feb 11, 2013 09:47 PM

                                      I did not ask while I was there, did not see any sign of set-ups, and there is nothing on menu about it.

                                      1. re: beefa
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                                        Jon1856 RE: beefa Feb 18, 2013 09:26 AM

                                        Per Westchester Magazine-so far only two beers (Heineken in cans and Corona in bottles).

                                      2. l
                                        lemarais RE: Jon1856 Feb 10, 2013 08:27 AM

                                        Actually, one of my favorite Vietnamese places is not extremely authentic, but has the best Pho I've ever had, and also has Basa fish on the menu all the time. The mussels in wasabi-ginger are the stuff dreams are made of! Banh Mi is great!

                                        http://www.viewmenu.com/simply-vietna...

                                        1. roxlet RE: Jon1856 Feb 12, 2013 01:40 PM

                                          I had a very nice lunch with some friends here today, which we all enjoyed very much.

                                          Let me start off by saying that I know very little about Vietnamese food. It is not a cuisine that I am tremendously knowledgeable about, but that being said, I thought the food was so light, fresh and delicious. I am on Weight Watchers, and in no way did I feel that this meal blew my diet. I was comfortably full, but not overstuffed.

                                          We started by sharing the summer rolls. We had vegetarian, pork, and the exotic Saigon roll, which was made with sausage. The rolls were fairly bursting with the various meats plus lettuce, sprouts, mint leaves and vermicelli. They were served with a dipping sauce that contained peanuts. For our mains, we all chose the grilled meat. I had pork and my companions had the beef. The meats were served on a small nest of rice noodles as well as finely chopped cucumber bean sprouts and peanuts. It was in a very light broth, to which I added a couple of drops of Siracha.

                                          The hosts couldn't have been more welcoming, and let us know that they were anxious to hear our thoughts so that they could improve their restaurant. My only complaint was that it was a little chilly in the restaurant; they could use a little more heat. I will definitely be returning, as will my dining companions.

                                          1. jcmods RE: Jon1856 Feb 15, 2013 11:27 AM

                                            Snowstorm "NEMO" foiled our plans (can this restaurant get a break? First Sandy and now Nemo.)

                                            Anyway, we really want to try and get there this weekend. The prices don't look outrageous to me. They are slightly higher than Manhattan, but it's not like they are charging $18.95 for a bowl of soup. $9.00 is still fairly reasonable considering that we are in the land of the unadventurous.

                                            1. d
                                              dseife RE: Jon1856 Feb 17, 2013 04:56 AM

                                              Disappointing because;

                                              The brisket pho had significant pieces of fat that couldn't be eaten and I showed the host and he took the several pieces To the kitchen and did not return with his thoughts or apologize for how the dish was served.

                                              The food was not served at the same time.

                                              We ordered 3 appetizers and two were served and then we were told they did not have the third even though the waitress took our order.

                                              They had one beer choice and we got a long explanation why they did not have a choice.

                                              There was no good place to wait for a table and their seating management skills were poor. No reservations allowed.

                                              The waitress' skills were poor and it seemed like management was running a restaurant for the first time.

                                              They tried to clean our table several times before we were finished eating.

                                              The food seemed fresh and decent but the overall experience was poor.

                                              Don't know if I would give them another try!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: dseife
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                                                Elisa515 RE: dseife Feb 17, 2013 05:10 AM

                                                Three questions:

                                                At what time of which day did you go to this restaurant?

                                                How come the only times you've commented on Chowhound have been negative comments? Can you tell us about a restaurant you like?

                                                1. re: Elisa515
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                                                  dseife RE: Elisa515 Feb 17, 2013 06:37 AM

                                                  Good questions.

                                                  We arrived at 7:30 Saturday night.

                                                  I need to be more diligent in giving positive feedback on good restaurants:

                                                  Local: Emma's in white plains

                                                  Special occasions : x2o hands down

                                                  Mexican Lola,s white plains and vega hartsdale

                                                  South American: gaucho grill white plains

                                                  Pub like: growlers tuckahoe

                                                  Pizza and stuff: polpetinas in eastchester but a pain to get in

                                                  Solid American: north

                                                  Local Italian: espositos

                                                  Indian: malabar hill and the tiny place in ardsley

                                                  We had a real nice meal last week at massas in Scarsdale.

                                              2. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: Jon1856 Feb 17, 2013 04:48 PM

                                                Had lunch today!

                                                Definitely some kinks to work out with service etc. They brought tea to the table and the pot was so full that when I tried to pour it it spilled all over my shoes. The very sweet waitress had absolutely no clue about anything on the menu. If an entire category (hot pot, as it turned out) is unavailable, this should be announced as the menu is handed out, not when your order is being taken.

                                                That said it is very cute and very casual. There's very limited seating and as another poster noted nowhere really for people waiting for tables to stand.

                                                The food was pretty good. This is only my second time having Vietnamese food so I am not a judge of how authentic it is. What I got was tasty (it was a tamarind soup rice bowl with tofu), especially the broth. I would go back to try more.

                                                Hopefully the kinks will work out as time goes on because it would be nice if this place did well!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
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                                                  Westjanie RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Feb 17, 2013 07:07 PM

                                                  We also had lunch there today. Thought the staff were well-intentioned, but they definitely need to get a bunch of kinks worked out. I think they are a bit overwhelmed by the large number of people who seem to be flocking there. They were particularly disorganized when the place was totally full, better when things calmed down a bit. They had run out of some broths and other things by the time we got there and, yes, sometimes the servers didn't know until after they had taken the orders. The waitress's problems probably stem from the fact she is Chinese and does not (yet) know much about Vietnamese food.

                                                2. p
                                                  pabboy RE: Jon1856 Feb 17, 2013 06:46 PM

                                                  First the good news: the beef Pho broth was better than anything Manhattan has to offer. It's almost as good as what pho joints at Eden Center in NOVA has. The taste is very clear. No MSG. No grease. The beef was tender and pink just the way I like it. I'm very happy to pay $9.50 for the #20 special.

                                                  Bad news: Spring rolls & summer rolls were bland. Exotic rolls were better but only slightly. The dipping peanut sauce and fish sauce were weak.

                                                  Worse news: Horrible service. Waitress was clueless. The management needs to take some hospitality courses. The tables can be setup better. The parking is pretty bad as well.

                                                  Summary: This place has potential. They have the pho broth to make it work.

                                                  1. j
                                                    Jon1856 RE: Jon1856 Feb 18, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                    What may-be the first semi-official "review"-Saigonese Opens in Hartsdale (And PS: Run, Don’t Walk);
                                                    First Taste: Saigonese Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine

                                                    Reader, we stalked the place, regularly driving by 158 S Central Avenue, looking in windows, monitoring progress, and generally making ourselves a nuisance. Finally, during the snow-tastrophe days of last week, Saigonese debuted in Hartsdale. We’re just going to say it now: Run, don’t walk........(Posted under "fair use") http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Bl...

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