Oh, friends, the story of Menu Envy that I relate today will surely break your heart. Or not, if you’re sensible about it. See, one day last month, a buddy named Stephen posted to Facebook a photo of his order of Thit Kho To (Pork Clay Pot) from Château de Saigòn on Buford Highway. It looked absolutely delicious and so I resolved to try it as soon as I could. I shouted out to Vincent and Helen to see whether they’d like to join us, and we met up on a Saturday evening.
Every single dish on that table was better than the Thit Kho To. Every last stinking one. And the pork, caramelized and sweet, was pretty good, but just completely and unfairly overshadowed by everything else that we ordered. Darn it.
This is why it seems best to go to restaurants with friends when you are in the mood for Asian food. Everything else that was selected – lemongrass chicken, rare beef salad, shaking beef, tilapia served with a remarkably flavorful and mildly spicy sauce – was simply excellent. We all enjoyed the meal tremendously. If I had gone by myself for lunch, I’d have left with a somewhat underwhelming opinion of the restaurant, instead of leaving with a deliberately silly affectation of a “complaint.”
I believe that Château de Saigòn opened in 2007, and it has had many mixed reviews over the years. Quite a few of our fellow hobbyists, not to mention reviews at Urbanspoon and Yelp, compare this place unfavorably to two nearby Vietnamese restaurants, Nam Phuong and Pho Dai Loi # 2. Helen and Vincent had been here a couple of times and said that they also prefer Nam Phuong. So the meal was a very pleasant surprise. Or a slightly aggravating one, if you were in the camp expecting a transcendent entree of clay pot pork and found it to be just pretty good. Should the road bring us back this way, we now know what to order to get a meal that will even please the grumpy writer who’s always finding something to bellyache about!
Other blog posts about Château de Saigòn:
Amy on Food (Oct. 3 2008)
OctoSquid (Nov. 6 2009)
Atlanta etc. (Mar. 7 2010)
The Cynical Cook (Oct. 4 2011)
My Little Foodies (June 2 2012)
Spatialdrift (Jan. 14 2013)
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