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The interior of Miss Saigon looks otherworldly. The folks who work here dress in traditional odia (brilliantly hued long dresses) and have a knack for making guests feel welcome. Have no fear if this is your first time eating Vietnamese. An extremely friendly (and on occasion, flamboyant) server will ask you a series of questions: What kind of meat do you like? Do you want something healthy? Something traditional? Something borrowed? Something blue? The meal will be tailored to your taste buds. The traditional beef pho ($10.95) is large enough to share and comes with rice noodles and chunks of rare beef with all the fixings -- a sprig of basil, sprouts, and hot sauce -- on the side. Spring rolls (two per order for $6.95, also in a seafood variety for a buck extra), with a distinctive chewy crunch, are appetizer standouts. If you're feeling ravenous, try the massive Miss Saigon noodle bowl ($15.95), filled with a mix of golden brown spring rolls, shrimp, beef, lemongrass, noodles, and a hint of curry served tableside in individual bowls if you are sharing. For dessert, try the strongly brewed Vietnamese coffee ($2.80), which slowly drips in front of you in a tall glass mug atop a sweet inch of condensed milk.
Let's talk alchemy. For centuries, wizened scholars -- toiling in dark cellars, their wispy gray beards flirting with flames as they cooked cauldrons of metals and spices -- searched endlessly for the secret to transmuting basic elements into something new, something otherworldly. Everyone from Isaac Newton to Tycho Brahe grew obsessed with finding the key. Honestly, they should have just ordered some pho at Miss Saigon. How else to explain what happens inside the massive, steaming... More »
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