Dinner at Essence of Saigon Garden

On my way to the Pandora free bracelet promotion at Market Mall, my family and I decided to grab some dinner beforehand so we can walk it off a bit while shopping.  Hearing good things about this restaurant, we decided to give them a try since it was close to Market Mall.  The restaurant was about half full on a Thursday evening.  I noticed right away that the servers spoke Cantonese, so I’m not sure if they’re Vietnamese or not.  Whether a restaurant is “authentic” or not doesn’t bother me – as long as they serve good food I don’t care who cooks it!

Here’s what we ordered tonight:

EOS - spring roll

Saigon Spring Rolls – $5.50

My toddler pretty much snatched one the moment this plate was placed down.  I had no idea he liked spring rolls this much! They were piping hot and had a good amount of pork filling in them.  They were also not greasy.

EOS - shredded pork salad roll

Shredded Pork Salad Rolls – $5.95

I have to admit I misread the menu and thought it was the pork skin roll, so I was very disappointed to see this.  I was expecting something similar to the one at Pho Thanh.  This roll was stuffed with vermicelli but definitely not enough meat.  It didn’t taste like anything without the hoisin sauce.

EOS - charbroiled quail

Charbroiled Quail – $8.95

I love quail.  I always order the one at Vietnamese Village even though it is so freakin’ expensive.  I always wonder why Chinese restaurants only charge about $5.50 for 2 when it cost so much more at Vietnamese restaurants? This was nicely charbroiled finished with a sweet honey glaze.  The quail themselves are also quite meaty.  I could eat a dozen of these.

EOS - charbroiled pork chop and egg on rice

Charbroiled Pork Chop and Egg on Rice – $9.00

This was my brother’s order.  He normally only gets the pork chop but there’s just something comforting about piercing an egg yolk into steamed rice… and you get two eggs here… plus a nice, juicy piece of pork chop finished with the same sweet honey glazed as the quail.  My brother definitely enjoyed this.

EOS - special

Essence of Saigon Special (Large) – $9.50

My mom got the regular size for $8.50.  I got the large to share with my toddler because there was no way he was going to finish the kid’s size on his own, so I didn’t want to waste food or money.   This bowl of pho was a good size for a large.  It was packed with noodles and meat.  However, I found the soup quite weak in flavor.  The noodles were not overly soggy but it didn’t have a good bite to them either.  I’ve definitely had better pho elsewhere.

Service was pretty decent.  I was very impressed with our server because without writing anything down, she remembered everything we ordered (and correctly too).  I thought the food wasn’t bad, but nothing spectacular either.  Prices are on par and fair to the portion sizes.

Essence of Saigon Garden on Urbanspoon

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