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Chicken-rice specialist, Dong Nguyen has a fairly lengthy menu and precisely one dish that anyone ever eats, which appears at the table within seconds, plates dealt almost like cards. I am perverse about these things, so I try a crisply fried game hen served on a bed of macaroni noodles dyed scarlet with a purée of chiles and tomatoes, and I find it rather good. The marinated beef cubes, caramelized in that peculiar Vietnamese way, were chewy, bland, rather less interesting, with rice underneath, which I suspect had been cooked in the same purée as the noodles. The chicken rice? Better, of course, but not much, overcooked to the point of mushiness, lacking any degree of ginger punch but chickeny, definitely chickeny.
View more photos in the "Dong Nguyen and Savoy: Hail the Conquering Chicken" slideshow. I am willing to go toe to toe on the subject of what might properly go into a Los Angeles burrito, and I can hold my own when symposia on spaghetti carbonara... More »
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