I’ve reviewed plenty of restaurants located on the north, northeast, and east side of Indianapolis, but hardly any on the west-side. This time Jeff and I traveled to the environs of Lafayette Square to sample a style of cuisine that is fairly new to our city, Vietnamese. This cuisine is pretty well known in much larger cities like Chicago, New York, and the West Coast giants of Los Angeles and San Francisco but is just now arriving in the smaller cities of the Midwest.
Here’s a bit of trivia for you. Saigon, now named Ho Chi Minh City, was once known as the Paris of the Orient, and was renowned for its fusion of French and Asian Cuisine.
Located in an old Bob Evans Restaurant, Saigon Restaurant has an open floor plan and a welcoming air. The openness is enhanced by the many windows that let in copious amounts of natural light. What wall surfaces there are, are painted a rust color. Even though we arrived after the normal lunch rush, there were still a good many diners eating.
We were greeted immediately and shown to a table. Our drink orders were quickly taken and we were handed a very large menu with over 150 items listed. Our waiter was friendly, was very happy to answer any questions we had, and had some ready recommendations for us. We were very pleased with the timeliness and quality of the service.
Saigon Restaurant is easily among the cleanest restaurants I have visited since I began reviewing restaurants.
At my first glance at the menu it was easy to see that there was something to please just about all appetites and diets. They even had Pad Thai! Also, with easily 20 dishes on the menu that qualify as vegetarian, they do more than just give a nod to the vegetarian diet. In fact, the only type of diet that appeared to be underrepresented on the menu was a low carbohydrate diet. While there were some dishes that would qualify as low in carbs, you really had to search them out.
Jeff and I started with the Bo Nuong Sa, or Grilled Beef Lemongrass. This appetizer is made of thinly sliced marinated beef rolled around a type of cheese and then grilled and served with a sweet chili sauce on the side. It was unbelievably delicious! With the first bite I wished I had an order of it all to myself.
For our entrées we followed our waiter’s advice; I had the Bun Bi Thit Nuong or Grilled Pork with Shrimp and Noodles and Jeff had the Lotus Salad, consisting of pork, shrimp, daikon radish, and lotus root. My entrée was just as good as the appetizer, redolent with Nuoc Mam or Vietnamese Fish sauce, it tasted of sweet and savory pork and shrimp interspersed with the flavors of basil and peanut. I added a bit of Sriracha hot sauce to add a little kick. The flavors were absolutely titillating!
Our experience was so pleasant, I can’t wait to go back and try something else on their extensive menu.
The Juicy Bits
Interested in a new, light, and tongue pleasing experience? Then look no further than the Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant. They have the flavors and freshness to please you and enough variety to keep you coming back for more. This was definitely one of my better dining experiences in the last year and I’m looking forward to my next visit. The only thing that keeps me from giving the them four piggies is that I didn’t get goose bumps, but don’t worry there are still plenty of dishes left on the menu that could give them to me!
In summary: The Saigon Restaurant definitely lives up to its namesake.
4760 W 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46254
Tel: (317) 927-7270
Hours: Monday (11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) Tuesday (Closed) Wednesday – Thursday (11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.), Friday – Sunday (11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m)