It's been a five-year search, but I think I have finally caught my Pho-by Dick ! On the Upper West Side ! (I know. AGAIN.)
Saiguette is a nondescript Vietnamese spot on the corner of Columbus and 106th. Stool seating lining the windows are available, but most business appears to be takeout or delivery. They even packaged up my meal for takeout, despite wanting to eat there, which was fine by me, since I saved half the broth for a meal at home the next day (bonus).
Noodles, thinly sliced beef and raw onions are serve in a plastic bowl. Steamy hot beef broth is contained on the side, along with a plastic baggie of bean sprouts and basil sprigs. Pickled jalapeno and plum sauce are served separately.
A healthy squeeze of lime is essential in marrying together all the flavors. The clear amber broth is flavored well and the beef is nicely fresh and tender. If there is any complaint about the whole thing is that the noodles are on the thinner side, can stand to be a bit chewier, and the jalapenos could be fresh, but honestly, I'm still enamored.
I sat at the window by myself for ten minutes, with a fresh summer breeze blowing on my face, and pho noodles sliding blissfully down my throat. Life is so great.
The banh mi is the most expensive I've ever purchased, with the lemongrass pork at $9 and the flank steak at $11, but might I say it is well worth the extra dollars? The sandwiches are stuffed amply with thick, whole pieces of beautifully marinated pork and steak, the pickled vegetables crisp and fresh, and the bread soft and perfect. I will show you when I eat there again. And I will. Because this is definitely my favorite new find. (Besides Jacob's Pickles.)
Gosh darn you, Upper West Side. I might love you.
Han's Nonsensical Rating: Un-pho-gettable. Definitely my favorite pho and banh mi of the moment in Manhattan !
935 Columbus Ave
New York, NY