Online Issues / Summer 2013 (Vol. 1, Online Issues)

Bursting the MoHi Bubble

matttsimcover

Bursting the Morningside Heights Bubble

with Saigon Shack

by Matthew Tsim | New York City

Hanging out in Greenwich Village and hungry for Vietnamese? Saigon Shack’s delicious food, contemporary setting, and affordable prices are sure to do the trick.

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IMG_3579-2Sandwiched between taverns rather than peer Vietnamese restaurants, Saigon Shack finds itself in an unlikely location on Greenwich Village’s Macdougal Street. The setting suits Saigon Shack well, as the restaurant may seem to be an equally unlikely spot to find decent Vietnamese food.

Perhaps this is because Saigon Shack does not resemble the typical Vietnamese restaurant that you would normally find in Chinatown—there are no chopstick stations with complementary hoisin and chili sauces on its tables and the air does not reek of beef broth. Instead, the atmosphere is trendy and contemporary, with exposed brick walls and bulb lighting delivering an effortlessly cool ambience.

Similarly, the food at Saigon Shack does not disappoint. A typical dinner, for example, might begin with shrimp summer rolls and peanut sauce. Chilled and packed with fresh vegetables and rice vermicelli noodles, these summer rolls are refreshing and a delightful start to a meal.

You’ll want to proceed with a piping hot bowl of pho. The noodles are generous in their portion, and the rare beef and brisket are soft and aromatic. One of the better pho selections is Saigon Shack’s signature special S.S. Spicy Pho, which comes with additional ham and packs a substantial amount of heat from jalapeno peppers and chili seasoning.

Alternatively, order a banh mi sandwich for your entrée. A foot-long sandwich of julienned and pickled cucumber, cilantro, carrots, and daikon radish, this dish is robust in flavor. The superstar here is the Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi—the lemongrass chicken is tender and succulent, and the toasted bread is crunchy and buttery. For those feeling adventurous, request it spicy to receive the sandwich drenched in a yellow jalapeno Sriracha sauce. It’ll complement the robust flavors of the banh mi and give it an extra kick.

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To finish the meal, be sure to order the hot Vietnamese cappuccino. Sweet, frothy, and spicy with cinnamon sprinkled on top, this hot drink will leave you perfectly satisfied after the spicy meal you just enjoyed.

In addition to its commendable food, Saigon Shack also has wonderful service. At the bar, cups are refilled immediately after being emptied, and waiters are friendly and serve dishes with a smile—even when every seat in the restaurant is occupied.

With large portions and cheap prices (especially for Greenwich Village), Saigon Shack is a solid option for students looking to branch out of the Morningside Heights food bubble on a budget. Bring at most one other person along if you intend to visit though, as wait times will be long for larger groups. And remember to visit the ATM—it’s cash only.

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Saigon Shack

114 Macdougal St.

(212) 228-0588

saigonshacknyc.com

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To learn more about the “Keep in Touch” online issue, click here.  To see the rest of the articles in the “Keep in Touch” online issue, click here.

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