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    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Noodlepie...in St. Louis

    Noodlepie is the hugely popular and very well done blog about food in Saigon, Vietnam, so I thought it only fitting to title this post in memoriam.

    While in St. Louis I ate two things of note. First, vietnamese food.


    My student host and another interviewee went out for Vietnamese food. He took me to "Pho Grand," the aptly named restaurant that serves Pho and is located on Grand ave. He swears it's his favorite Viet food in the area. Unfortunately, it's closed every Tuesday, so we had to go to the Viet restaurant down the block, "Lemongrass."


    Upon first entering, I saw the decor quite nice to cater to the mostly caucasian crowd that eats here. Nice decor and caucasians equals higher prices.


    My host got com thit nuong. The presentation was good. Taste good. It was grilled in nuoc mam, but they didn't give any extra nuoc mam in a bowl, which disappointed. We had to ask for a little chen of nuoc mam. Overall, the colors contrasted well, vegetables were fresh, and they used good leafy greens.


    I ordered the bun thit nuong cha gio. Again, you can see that the colors work well with each other. I did think they added just a little too many peanuts. The egg rolls were crispy and not oily, a definite plus. The meat had subtle flavor that didn't overpower anything. Unfortunately, they put the fish sauce in the bowl before they added everything else. So, when I added my extra nuoc mam, I had too much, since I was unaware of the puddle at the bottom of my bowl. A little mixing with special attention paid to keep most of the vermicelli out of the sauce made the dish good, until the last two or three bites. Then the sauce was overpowering.


    Ultimately, the waiter was friendly, although he didn't want to speak Vietnamese with me, and the food was far better than I expected in St. Louis. For about $5.50 a plate, this place is definitely worth eating at. Now is it better than Pho Grand?? That remains to be seen...

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