Venturing to Pho Viet in Newington


We’ve placed some entries on the back burner in 2014 to attend to life’s rigor and routine. But alas, here they are! Back in July, we visited Pho Viet, Newington’s first Vietnamese restaurant out of curiosity and our love for Vietnamese cuisine. Personally, I fell in love with Vietnamese cuisine back in college when I visited a cute, hole in the wall restaurant in Farmington.  The fresh meats and vegetables lifted my taste buds to a level of flavor they had not experienced before. In the coming years, I visited other Vietnamese restaurants with Christina, but none quite compared. I wondered if Pho Viet could capture my heart and hers in the same fashion.

Pho Viet

A

Location: 36 Fenn Road, Newington, CT 06111

Website Menu Facebook

DSC00046

DSC00047

Atmosphere: 10/10-The word “beautiful” isn’t one we use lightly, especially when it comes to describing the atmosphere of a restaurant, but it perfectly describes the interior of Pho Viet. We’re not using the word in a conventional sense either, but in terms of owners’ craftsmanship. Most restaurants owners will go through the trouble of decorating  their restaurant by utilizing the wall space with pictures and signs, but few care to paint the interior in a way that is truly artistic. The brightly colored walls of Pho Viet remind visitors how deeply the owners care about how their restaurant looks and inviting visitors to experience their culture.

Service: 9.5/10-Knowing how much the owners care about the ambiance of the restaurant, we expected the service to be equally great and we were not disappointed. Pho Viet offers the option of dining in or ordering out. As such, the staff members are always busy attending to multiple different tasks. While it’s commonplace for restaurants to face these challenges, Pho Viet has the edge in that most of the staff members are related. The familial bond makes it easier for them to work as a team and satisfy customers.

Price/Selection: 9/10-Pho Viet offers great prices in terms of its entrees and appetizers. Neither the appetizers nor the entrees exceed $12, giving this restaurant a competitive edge when comparing it to other Vietnamese restaurants across the state. Pho Viet offers a limited number of menu items and this works both to their advantage and disadvantage. Having a limited number of items makes it easier for customers to choose, especially those who have never tried Pho before. It is also an indication that the staff specializes in creating these items. A limited number of vegetarian items, on the other hand, could leave some customers wanting more.

DSC00048

Taste: 9/10-Pho Viet’s pho proved to be the most satisfying item on its menu. The restaurant offers a number of unique items such as crispy spring rolls, rice vermicelli and Vietnamese rice dishes and soups, but none proved more delicious than the pho. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup consisting of rice noodles, basil, bean sprouts, lime and cilantro in a seasoned beef or chicken broth. We recommend trying the Pho Ga (rice noodles with chicken) or for those more daring, the Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef soup with Hue style vermicelli.

In a nutshell: 37.5/40-Pho Viet created a totally new experience from the Vietnamese restaurant we dined at in Farmington long ago. It reminded us that no matter how many of the same types of restaurants exist across the state with similar sounding names, it is still worth it to stop by one at your own convenience. You never know when you’re going to be surprised by the owners’ craftsmanship, competitively low prices or quality service that can only come from a true familial bond.

Saigon City in Old Saybrook: Vietnamese with An Artistic Attitude


Old Saybrook is a small, seaside town in Middlesex County. It’s also one of the oldest towns in Connecticut with roots that date back to 1624! A New York Times review of Saigon City, a quaint Vietnamese restaurant, inspired us to stop by the town for dinner and a round of mini golf.  We felt excited to try a new Vietnamese restaurant for the first time in almost a year.  We were equally delighted to find that Old Saybrook still had a mini golf course by the docks. With our two year anniversary around the corner,  we were eager to embark on a pre-celebration in this town.

Saigon City

Grade: A

Location:  1315 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT

Website Menu

from the official website.

Atmosphere: 10/10-When you step into the Saigon City, you’ll notice the beautiful Vietnamese paintings that decorate the walls.  Chef Vu Nguyen, who co-owns Saigon City with his wife, Bernadette, painted some of these! This speaks to Saigon City’s authentic, creative atmosphere and to the talent of Nguyen.  The  paintings represent a wonderful, welcoming expression of the Vietnamese culture.  Saigon City’s dining room fireplace is an added bonus, especially for those frigid, Fall and Winter  nights.  We opted  to sit on the deck  and soak in the sun.  We noticed that Saigon City differs from other restaurants in that it keeps both its interior and exterior clean!

Service: 9/10-We waited a little longer than we expected for refills but, we found our waitress to be personable and efficient.  We also give props to the chef(s) who prepared our dishes in under 15 minutes.  Vietnamese  cuisine (if done well) boasts complexity in its taste and design. The quick preparation time highlights the experience of Saigon City’s chefs.

Price: 4/5-Lunch prices range from $7.95 to $10.95.  Dinner prices range from $11.95 to $17.95.  If you want a glass of wine, you’ll spend an average of $5-$6. These are some pretty sweet deals!  Our experience  caused us to re-evaluate our perspective on price. We visited an Italian restaurant the other week in which the price of entrees ranged from $17.95 and above!  We expected superior, gourmet cuisine for this amount.  We tasted tasty, overpriced cuisine.  At Saigon City, you will pay significantly less for dishes with filling portions and damn good taste!

Selection: 5/5-Click on the menu link above and scroll down. This extensive menu spans ten pages! From Vietnamese spring rolls to Red Curry pork, you have plenty to choose from! We suggest you review this extensive menu before you stop by.

Taste: 9/10-Lemon grass, peanuts, limes, vegetables, coconut milk, curry and chili-paste: these are some of the key ingredients to signature Vietnamese dishes.  Saigon City’s chefs honored this culinary tradition and the results proved downright delectable!  If you’re a fan of spice, you might want to tell your server beforehand. The dishes marked as “spicy” may not  taste as spicy as you might anticipate without this suggestion.  

Below you’ll find our picks for the top 5 most creative entrees:

1.   Saigon Spicy Chicken (Slices of tender chicken breast marinated with coconut milk, yellow curry, and chili pepper.  Stir-fried with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and clear noodles.  Sprinkled with ground peanuts)-$12.95

2.  Spicy Vegetarian Curry (Tofu marinated with coconut milk, curry, and chili pepper.  Stir-fried with onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and clear noodles.  Sprinkled with ground peanuts)-$12.95

3. Red Curry Pork (Sliced pork marinated with red curry and simmered in coconut milk with bamboo shoots, red chili, and bell peppers)-$12.95

4.  Saigon Beef Delight (Slices of flank steak stir-fried with pineapple, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumbers)-$14.95

5.  Squid Sate-(Squid sautéed with carrots, onions, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, bamboo shoots, and baby corn)-$14,95

In a nutshell: 37/40-Saigon City proved that it is possible for restaurants to serve authentic, delicious cuisine at affordable prices. Yes, this includes wine too! You can treat yourself this to an exquisite dinner or lunch  without burdening your wallet. We strongly recommend you visit and immerse yourself in the artistic and culinary gem that is Saigon City.

Saigon City on Urbanspoon

nimblefox logo

Did you know? We also tutor. Click here to check out NimbleFox, our tutoring website!

//