I'm not sure how long Saigon Shack has been doling out Vietnamese cuisine on the cultural hodgepodge that is MacDougal St., but it's clearly popular at all hours - bustling even at midnight on a Friday night, where Diana and I first found ourselves staring at Peking duck banh mi.
Narrow strips of crisp cucumber were drenched in hoisin sauce with a few thick cuts of not-too-fatty Peking duck at the base.
The bread was fairly good, not too hard, but not too crisp either. The duck banh mi is an interesting twist, but I found myself missing thick slathers of pate, so I'd prolly return to try the classic sometime soon.
The Saigon Shack pho, with brisket, meatballs and raw beef, came next. I have never enjoyed brisket in any Asian soup, so I asked for no brisket. I was surprised with extra pieces of raw beef, and I was in meaty heaven ! The meat cooked ever so slightly in the broth, retained its full, tender self, and was prime, chewy satisfaction.
The grilled shrimp, pork and eggroll plate can be served on rice or vermicelli, though vermicelli is always perfection on a summer day.
The beautifully wide plate was overflowing with greens, succulently marinated shrimp, and deliciously crisp eggrolls. The pork was a bit on the dry side, but fine with a douse of nuoc cham. The plate has a little bit of everything and is sure to please any eater!
Love the egg rolls that come with the craggly-crisp wrapper!
Finding myself under the weather at present, nothing is rousing me more than a heartwarming bowl of pho, so I might just find myself back there yet again this week!
Han's Nonsensical Rating: It won't be the best Vietnamese you'll ever have, but it's definitely one of the tastier options you have in Manhattan. The raw beef pho and the grilled shrimp/pork/eggroll plates are solid choices. Wash down with a refreshingly sweet glass of cucumber water!
114 MacDougal St
New York, NY