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Elegant as lace curtains, Ngon Bistro is a Frogtown Vietnamese restaurant for the next generation: Consider the lace curtains, pretty acres of which blanket the sunny front windows--those are just not the kind of grace note you commonly find in Frogtown. Neither are the glass-bedecked wall sconces, the all-Minnesota artisinal beer list, or the wine-bar-worthy wine list. While the restaurant offers American bistro staples, its Vietnamese classics tend to be stronger: The beef pho might just be the best in the state, with a sweet, winter-spice accented broth. The broken rice plates, com tam, are artful and satisfying, with slices of English cucumber, sweet pickled carrot and daikon, and your add-in of choice, like gingery shrimp or three sorts of pork and fried egg, arranged like sculpture around a pretty molded disk of broken rice. With prices steadfastly in the Frogtown tradition--well under $10 for most traditional Vietnamese entrees--and all that style and fantastic beverages, Ngon is doing its darndest to prove that the Frogtown of the now is the best it's ever been.
The French just add a certain flair to everything--in this case, the Vietnamese dining experience, which, let's be honest, often lacks ambiance. Not so at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, which is, in fact, a French-Vietnamese fusion (guests will find steak au poivre and duck cassoulet de l'indochine next to the traditional pho and bún). Situated on grubby University Avenue, the restaurant feels more like a Soho café, with large, street-facing windows, blond hardwood floors, and... More »
Great pho is the foundation of any respectable Vietnamese restaurant, and Ngon Bistro has it in spades. The soup's beef broth is subtle, slightly sweet, oniony, and anise-flavored. It can be ordered as simply as with rice noodles and chicken, or as an all-beef blowout of thin-sliced beef, both lean and fatty; homemade beef balls; tendon; and tripe. The rest of the menu is a mix of solid basics--spring rolls, broken rice plates--and fusion dishes, such as mung bean cheesecake and... More »
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is gearing up for his city to host one of the most food-tastic events in the state: the newly revamped Taste of Minnesota. While you may find the mayor lurking near t... More »
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro 799 University Ave., St. Paul 651.222.3301 You cannot have great pho without great broth. If you disagree with me, that's it, we are just going to have to get chains and knives and finish this one in a dark alley. Because... More »
Great pho is the foundation of any respectable Vietnamese restaurant, and Ngon Bistro has it in spades. The soup's beef broth is subtle, slightly sweet, oniony, and anise-flavored. It can be ordered as simply as with rice noodles and chicken, or as an all-beef blowout of thin-sliced beef, both lean and fatty; homemade beef balls; tendon; and tripe. The rest of the menu is a mix of solid basics—spring rolls, broken rice plates—and fusion dishes, such as mung bean cheesecake and seared scallops with coconut rice. While the flavors are as good as you'd expect, the dining room is even better: sunny and airy, with golden walls, blond bamboo floors, and breezy patterned curtains that give it a French colonial feel. It makes one wonder, how is it that a bowl of pho this good can be served in a room this beautiful, and cost just seven bucks?
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