Saigon Night, 102-915 Fort Street, Victoria, BC
A good restaurant doesn't have to do anything fancy, have glamorous interiors and exotic fare. In fact, I would argue that if the food is delicious, it deserves all of the money in the world. There is nothing wrong with a 'plain Jane.'
Like many Asian-grounded restaurants in Victoria, Saigon Night's interior is stereotypical but clean. There isn't a lot of room, you are stuck close to others in the restaurant. A kind person would say it is cozy, those on the darker side would say it is the equivalent of eating in someone's kitchen. And yes, that's the bathroom on the way to the stove.
But if food is delicious, who really cares, right?
I ate at the restaurant previously, having had a bowl of Pho. Now I'm a Pho fanatic and I have friends who say that broth should be 'dark and mysterious,' and I know exactly what they mean. That's who you are dealing with here. You've been warned.
Saigon Night's Pho just doesn't meet that standard. But you get a very simple chicken stock broth, with plenty of noodles, and it's a little too light on protein for my liking.
This said, I am always willing to let a local business get a second shot.
This time I had the lemongrass chicken on rice and rolls. The chicken, while juicy, had no discernible spices or secondary flavour. The rice, white. Just white. Sticky and white. The sauces were clearly from a can or bottle. In terms of a meal, it did the basics.
The rolls were the deep-fried standard one comes to expect. They were hot. They were greasy. Nothing much stood out as a flavour or texture. I think they ran a carrot by the filling at one point for colour. Like the soup, it made me 'not hungry.'
A negative, the service. Our table of only two was ignored in favour of bigger tables with people that came in after us.
The final verdict - this Jane is pretty plain but gets the basic duties of food done.
Saigon Night - You Don't Suck, but you are also not the prettiest sister on the block either.
Pho Vy is winking at you around the corner. Go.