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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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ianmac47 wrote:
I put that blame on "family friendly" chain restaurants altering the American consciousness from the expectation that "going to a restaurant" is something special and not for children towards the idea that restaurants are just your average night and that children should be welcome.


I think you've got the tail wagging the dog. The American lifestyle shifted and the chains filled the market need. There are many families, particularly 2 career ones, that simply eat out FAR more than previous generations. My father in law's "2nd family" with 2 professional parents, would eat out or order in nearly every night.

Posted on: 2012/3/22 15:10
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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ianmac47 wrote:
Oh how "family" chain restaurants have ruined the American sense of propriety. Children don't belong in restaurants. Hire a babysitter. If you can't afford a babysitter, maybe you should cook at home.

What do chain restaurants have to do with anything? Downtown doesn't exactly attract the kind of resident or diner who frequents chains. The problem is making neighborhood families feel unwelcome. It has nothing to do with comparing our options to chains (not a good thing) or encouraging families to let their kids run wild. Your idea that children don't belong in restaurants is bizarre unless you're talking about a high-end white linen establishment.


I was talking about a cultural shift in the United States where it once was obviously unacceptable to bring rugrats to a restaurant but now everyone seems offended that they can't. I put that blame on "family friendly" chain restaurants altering the American consciousness from the expectation that "going to a restaurant" is something special and not for children towards the idea that restaurants are just your average night and that children should be welcome.

Posted on: 2012/3/22 14:52
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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ianmac47 wrote:
Oh how "family" chain restaurants have ruined the American sense of propriety. Children don't belong in restaurants. Hire a babysitter. If you can't afford a babysitter, maybe you should cook at home.

What do chain restaurants have to do with anything? Downtown doesn't exactly attract the kind of resident or diner who frequents chains. The problem is making neighborhood families feel unwelcome. It has nothing to do with comparing our options to chains (not a good thing) or encouraging families to let their kids run wild. Your idea that children don't belong in restaurants is bizarre unless you're talking about a high-end white linen establishment.

Posted on: 2012/3/22 14:20
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Oh how "family" chain restaurants have ruined the American sense of propriety. Children don't belong in restaurants. Hire a babysitter. If you can't afford a babysitter, maybe you should cook at home.

Posted on: 2012/3/22 2:54
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I'll preface this by saying that Saigon Cafe is, IMO, the best restaurant along the downtown stretch of Newark Ave. Really underrated and significantly better than Nha Trang.

I'll also say that parents who allow their children to be unruly in restaurants drives me crazy.

That being said, I think the new "rule" at Saigon cafe is inappropriate - both in time (come on, 7pm is early) and in intent. Deal with a family individually if their child is causing a ruckus. And for the record I've seen 8, 9, and 10 year olds FAR more disruptive than "infants and toddlers". I'm disappointed. I don't think I'll boycott the place or anything, but I think it's using the wrong means to get to a perfectly valid "end".

Posted on: 2012/3/22 2:09
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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saigon 0 : nha trang 100

Posted on: 2012/3/4 23:04
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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dwntowntrain wrote:
FYI - A new sign now reads no more babies allowed after 7pm


I saw that sign yesterday. I love this restaurant and the family that owns the place are wonderful. Been going for years and I admire them for taking this bold step so all can enjoy their dining experience. Wish other restaurants would follow suit. We have gone to a few local restaurants lately where the loud children have nearly ruined the meal. Running around the place loudly bothering patrons. I am a parent of two (grown now) and have had to leave a few restaurants in the past mid meal if the kids became too loud. It happens. And yes, it sucks, but you have to do it. Sadly some parents are rude and make other diners suffer through their kids noise and antics. Perhaps a sign that states: "Dear Parents: For the benefit of all of our customers, please keep your children quiet and remaining in their seats." I was floored last weekend at Tops Diner in Newark (awesome diner btw) as we witnessed a family of 6, with four young sons. All quiet and well behaved, for the entire meal. And it was very busy and they had to wait for a good amount of time for their food.
Bravo to parents who keep their kids in check at restaurants. At McDonald's and such you can expect that, but it's ridiculous and uncool at any other type restaurant.
It is similar to the dog owners who make us suffer with their poor dog etiquette

Posted on: 2012/3/4 21:00
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Have the stroller wars finally come to Jersey City?

Posted on: 2012/3/4 19:21
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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FYI - A new sign now reads no more babies allowed after 7pm

Posted on: 2012/3/4 16:31
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Pho Binh / best vietnamese
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I am going to give a shout out to Pho Binh in McGinley Square. It's located on 749 Bergen Avenue. Their Pho is great. I recommend the Pho Do Bien Hoac Mi, and Pho Tom. In addition, the Bun Bo Xao Sate and the Bun Cha Gio are very tasty as well. The restaurant is clean, and the staff is hospitable.

If you do not live in the area, they have parking located on Montgomery Street, adjacent to the Astor Bar.

Pho Binh may be reached by several bus lines: #80, #87, Bergen Ave, Westside/Montgomery, Newport Mall.

http://phobinhnj.com/index.php

http://www.yelp.com/biz/pho-binh-jersey-city

Posted on: 2009/7/18 3:57
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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We like this place a lot. I do wish they had a fried rice dish that was under $10. Honestly, $10 is a lot for rice and 4 shrimp. I would rather they just made a chicken fried rice and price it at $8.

Posted on: 2009/7/17 22:57
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Lol, right Bill. Thanks! Hope it's worth it. If someone sees me keel over give me CPR. Kidding. I hope.

Posted on: 2009/7/17 22:30
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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mrasg1 wrote:
How far a walk is it from Paulus Hook to Nha Trang? I don't have a car and it's not near a light rail station. They don't deliver and I want to try it.


Google Maps with walking directions is your friend. ~1 mile, 20 minutes

Posted on: 2009/7/17 22:28
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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How far a walk is it from Paulus Hook to Nha Trang? I don't have a car and it's not near a light rail station. They don't deliver and I want to try it.

Posted on: 2009/7/17 22:14
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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My work can be hectic at times with occasional late hours and I tend to cook only on weekends. As a result Saigon Cafe has been my second kitchen. Everything I've had has been wonderful and the owners are very personable. I agree they are somewhat expensive compared to other Vietnamese joints but I am willing to pay the little extra for the relaxed nature and the confidence in the food.

The Rendang Beef and Ban Hoi Thit Neoung (I am sure I got that wrong) are incredibly good. The beer is pretty good (I love Tiger beer and it tends to be difficult to source in liquor stores). The Vietnamese ice coffee hits the spot but be careful when you drink this as you can end up not sleeping for the entire night!

Occasionally i would order a meal while catching the train at WTC on my way back home and they know my voice and in most cases can guess what I want to pick up!

Posted on: 2009/7/8 2:25
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Yo! I gotta give big props to Pho Binh, and McGinley Square. Pho Binh's food is top notch, and the service is excellent. The bun tom nuoung (vermicelli noodles w/ grilled shrimp) is pretty authentic, and very tasty. And this is coming straight from the Jungle Unit. See you on the other side of the bamboo. Yeah.

Posted on: 2009/7/2 3:11
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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For a third option, I would also recommend Pho Binh up on Bergen at McGinley Square. I stop in for pho, rice noodles with grilled shrimp, or summer rolls at least once a week. The hot and sour (don't think Chinese hot and sour) Chicken soup with Okra is another delicious choice. The menu is reasonable and consists of what I consider standard Vietnamese fare (closer to Nha Trang than Cafe Saigon.)

Frequented by soup eaters (my favorite are the men who come in and just order the "big bowl" before they even sit down), their pho beats Nha Trang, IMO.

Also, they deliver.

Posted on: 2009/7/1 15:54
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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i'm not saying they're not nice people, nor am i claiming to know a thing about the cleanliness of nha trang. i'm certainly not going to assume they're not clean because of what saigon does.


i have personally SEEN the vats myself. i have not eaten there since.


i've lived here since 2001, and used to go there quite a bit.


factor in price, nha trang is big winner. i like eating where the natives eat

Posted on: 2009/7/1 14:58
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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One of my all time favorite restaurants, the summer rolls are to die for and I haven't had a main course I don't like. You might be slightly surprised at how good their fried rice is, might be the best fried rice I've ever tasted in my life. The owner also has the cajun blackened down to a T and one of the best stocked bars in the area.

My fave main courses in order:

1. Beef Rendang
2. Crab Fried Rice (ask for some of the sweet sauce to add to it on the side) w/ Side Salad
3. Acorn Squash Shrimp Curry(Eyebrow sweating spicy and savory)
4. Black and Blue Tuna w/ Side Salad.

Dessert favorites are the Sweet Potato pie which is incredibly good and on par with some of the best soul food joints in the area; I think they only serve it on the weekends

Also that Banana Cake....

Posted on: 2009/7/1 1:50
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Since you mentioned it, I wanted to say the owners of Saigon Cafe are really nice people, the whole family always treats us so well. Maybe a small thing but that in addition to the great food has made us very loyal customers.

Posted on: 2009/6/30 22:33
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I love this place. Food is great and you can actually have a conversation.
The last time I (4 people in total ) was there we asked the owner, who is the chef, please send 4 apps and 4 main courses. Great. You know he is going to send out the best and show off his style. The total with a desert and drinks was $140

Posted on: 2009/6/30 22:20
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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While I happen to prefer Saigon Cafe to Nha Trang to each their own, Nha Trang certainly has some good dishes. However, I don't find Nha Trang to be spotlessly clean and calling Saigon Cafe dirty in comparison based on what somewhat saw is probably a bit naive. Unless these people have seen the inside of Nha Trang's kitchen and can say otherwise, it's very possible their kitchen standards are no higher than Saigon's are claimed to be by your friends.

Regardless, let's just be happy there are two good Vietnamese restaurants in downtown JC, a lot of people in Manhattan and Brooklyn don't even have access to one based on what I've been told by friends from those places.

Posted on: 2009/6/30 20:40
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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Wow, those are some strong words during a pretty pleasant thread....

I like both places - they are different experiences as has been pointed out throughout this and other threads - but I lean toward Saigon.

Dirty vats for the soup? I encourage them to keep on doing what they're doing cause it's delicious.... I eat some form of their soup every month (and have for several years) and have yet to have anything happen to me...from the soup or any meal there. Bring on the dirt.....

I'm sure if you looked at the goings-on behind Nha Trang there'd be some disturbing events happening there that'd make you not think so highly of them...and you can probably say that about most food places everywhere.

Posted on: 2009/6/30 20:39
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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i have been to cafe saigon many times, until my friends living above the place told me they leave the soup vats out back, and they get real dirty. not into that at all.


at the same time, i have always gone to NHA TRANG, and even before the soup issue, it was not even close.


NHA TRANG SH!TS on Cafe Saigon.

Posted on: 2009/6/30 19:53
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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No reason for shame - it's easy to get caught going to the same places. We eat there very frequently - these are some of our fave dishes that you may want to try:

- Bun with pork
- Pho
- Chicken/mint salad
- Summer rolls
- Seafood udon soup
- Shrimp curry mee
- Lemongrass squid
- Lemonade!
- Viet coffee with condensed milk
- Dessert: dumplings in ginger sauce

Mmmmm....

Posted on: 2009/6/30 17:23
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I am embarrassed to say that I have been living in JC for almost 3 years now and I had yet to check out any of the Vietnamese places downtown. Tonight we were walking for some sushi / thai etc and saw the menu outside saigon cafe -Absolutely delicious! I am so glad we stopped by and can't wait to order takeout.

we had the spring rolls, chicken satay, beef rendang and a summer special - NJ tomato (tomato stuffed w a pork mixture and then in a tomato soup).
I wish it wasn't such a warm day as the pho soup looked great and I was quite jealous of the table next to us with fresh rolls.

everything tasted nice and fresh and was served w. veggies to make wraps

Guy who seemed to be the owner was there and very friendly - talking to many of the other patrons

Posted on: 2009/6/29 0:53
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Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I have always found the quality and value at Nha Trang to be very good. It seems to compare well to some of the VN restaurants in Manhattan (e.g. Nha Trang Center in Chinatown) in terms of authenticity. I haven't tried Cafe Saigon but since the prices are significantly higher I never felt the need to pay more when I was happy with NT. However, I may try Saigon based on the reviews here. One interesting thing about NT used to be the 7 foot tall Vietnamese waiter. He seems to be gone now tho.

Posted on: 2008/7/7 21:21
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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rory_bellows wrote:
I ordered from Saigon Cafe recently because it was raining and I didn't feel like walking to Nha Trang. I always go to Nha Trang before Saigon Cafe because it is cheaper, but unfortunately Nha Trang does not deliver. Anyhow, it seems I ordered from an old menu and prices have increased by $1-2 on every item I ordered. So it seems now there is a significant difference in price between the two and not a corresponding difference in quality.

I just wished Nha Trang delivered.


I also noticed Saigon Cafe's prices went up the other day when my brother and I picked up some Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls to split as an evening snack.

Then again, food prices seem to be going up everywhere.

It's been awhile since I've ordered the dish, but I've always enjoyed Saigon Cafe's Bun Ga Ca Ri Thai which their menu lists as one of their main course specialties.

It's actually a Thai-inspired chicken and potato dish served with rice vermicelli and a rich, hearty yellow coconut curry soup-like sauce.

That said, it's been ages since I've been to Nha Trang. Between their lower prices and the tempting photos of their food posted in this foodie blog, I think I am going to grab my dinner from there tonight.

Not sure what to order yet... hmm... some Grilled Pork or Grilled Lemongrass Beef with Rice Vermicelli sounds pretty darn good -- YUM!

Posted on: 2008/7/2 19:50
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I ordered from Saigon Cafe recently because it was raining and I didn't feel like walking to Nha Trang. I always go to Nha Trang before Saigon Cafe because it is cheaper, but unfortunately Nha Trang does not deliver. Anyhow, it seems I ordered from an old menu and prices have increased by $1-2 on every item I ordered. So it seems now there is a significant difference in price between the two and not a corresponding difference in quality.

I just wished Nha Trang delivered.

Posted on: 2008/7/1 18:19
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Re: Cafe Saigon / best vietnamese
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I'm with you JSalt - I like Nha Trang.

I am starting to wonder if...

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JSalt wrote:

Just don't understand this logic. Nha Trang probably has 20 things under $10 that I find delicious - why would I not eat there just because I don't like some of the other items?

Meanwhile Saigon Cafe is expensive enough that if I'm going to bother with it I'd rather just go somewhere better.

Posted on: 2008/7/1 17:51
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