Saigon Bistro, Concord CA
For a few years we’ve driven passed this place and have wondered. Now with Seasoning And Salt, we have an excuse to finally go to all the places we’ve been speculating about. Saigon Bistro is one of the places where we’re kicking ourselves for not coming in sooner.
Zach had never tried a pearl drink before but August drank them all the time as a freshman in college. Saigon Bistro’s are great and compare to her favorite pearl place on Durant Ave, so she was happy that Zach’s first was a good first.
We thought to split a banh mi ga nuong, or grilled chicken sandwich. It comes with an assortment of fresh veggies of carrots, jalapeños, bean sprouts, and cilantro, well balanced with pickled onions and sweet-and-sour mayonnaise-based dressing. To top it off, the bread was nice and crispy on the outside, yet soft in the middle “with a good chew to it” (Zach), and he could tell it was baked that day. A few bites of the sandwich were enough to convince us that this is one of our new favorite restaurants.
Zach’s entree was vermicelli with pulled pork and an egg roll, aka bun thit nuong – cha gio. On the bottom of the bowl were found celery cabbage (Napa cabbage), bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles. Layered on top were the pulled pork, carrots, Thai basil, chopped peanuts, green onions, and shrimp egg roll. We don’t know the name of the sauce in the small bowl, but it was sweet and meant to be poured over the vermicelli. It was a very refreshing dish, as all the veggies were raw and the vermicelli is already a light noodle to begin with. The pork was freshly grilled so it was juicy and very flavorful, thanks to a sweet and spicy rub the put on it. The mystery sauce over the entree mingled everything together really well.
The broth makes this pho that August ordered with sliced steak and well-done brisket. The meats were tender and juicy, the noodles abundant and perfectly done, and the fresh Thai basil, jalapeño slices, and bean sprouts to garnish were a nice touch. But the broth, oh! Delicious and limb-warming on a cold night. She got the “regular” size, which was big to begin with, but were blown away when we saw another table with a “large” which easily could have been enough for three people! You can’t beat the price, either, for the quality and quantity you get.