Flavorful forks in the road
Though the plating and presentation of the food at Café Trang is classy, the place has a no-nonsense pragmatism that’s just as pronounced. The walls of the clean, open dining room are nearly barren, sending the message that all artistry is reserved for the food. And the drink options are at the top of the menu, rather than the bottom where they’re usually found—a refreshing bit of sensibility given that your drink order is the first thing the server asks of you.
A tale of two Saigons
The process by which restaurants get selected for this column involves equal parts strategy and serendipity. New restaurants, if they’re any good, are no-brainers for coverage. But sometimes a case can be made for older places, especially if the Alibi has never covered them.
Pho for the fun family
In recent years, Albuquerque has been home to at least four Vietnamese restaurants with “Saigon” in its name. Those familiar with Vietnamese cuisine won’t be surprised, as its pool of restaurant names, by some unwritten decree, remains curiously small. So many contain the word “Pho” you’d think it was a synonym for Vietnamese food, rather than a bowl of soup.
Seven courses of Christmas beef
Eating Chinese food on Christmas is a tradition in some American Jewish communities, since Chinese restaurants are the only places that stay open for it. Along with Jewish folks and much of Asia, most of world’s population doesn’t celebrate Christmas—which can be a bit hard to remember stateside.
When good things come in pretty packages
My favorite Vietnamese restaurants are the durable type. With worn floors, and few frills beyond a TV on mute and perhaps a jungle of real and fake plants, those tired-looking dives are often full of Vietnamese customers, and for good reason. They serve the real stuff, unfiltered and unedited for an American audience.