Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Huong Viet - Review

Huong Viet - Dude Grade: B
358 Passaic Avenue
Nutley, NJ 07110-2737
Phone: (973) 667-0827

After moving out to the burbs of Northern New Jersey from Hoboken, there were two styles of cuisine which I have been having a hard time finding a decent replacement - Vietnamese food and a Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich. I can now cross Vietnamese off the list. My former go to Vietnamese joint was Nha Trang in Jersey City, but I read about this place online and it friggin rawks. I basically ordered what we always order at Nha Trang as comparison and it's light years better in my opinion and highly recommended.

Our Menu

Cha Gio (Fried Pork Spring Rolls) **
This is a really flavorful, perfectly crispy spring roll. Great pork flavor and even the romaine lettuce was of higher quality than Nha Trang.

Pho Dac Biet (Beef Soup with Tendons, Meatballs) **
This is by far the best Pho I've had on the East Coast - though Seattle may still take the cake in my opinion. The first thing you notice is how fragrant and flavorful the broth is. I think it has a pleasant aroma of star anise and cinnamon. Then, you take a bite of the noodles and you realize it's perfect al denteness and also the noodle to broth ratio is just right. The meatballs and tendons were also great, but the beef as with the majority of pho joints were slightly chewy and not super flavorful. Still a phenomenal pho.

Cai Xanh Xao Toi (Sauteed Mustard Greens) **
Perfectly cooked mustard greens where it was not insanely bitter. Nice and fragrant again from the fried garlic and what me thinks is potentially cooking in the pho broth. Even the sliced onions were delicious here.

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A) - The best Vietnamese food I've had in the East Coast.
  • Service (D+) – Servers were friendly, but this place is slow as eff. Funny as we were just watching Kitchen Nightmares before we left and I could hear Gordon screaming at them in the back of my head for the slow service. About 15 minutes to serve each dish which is ridiculous considering the place was empty and it's just fried food (4 mins top) and pre-made broth.
  • Atmosphere (C+) – A much nicer atmosphere than you'll get at your standard pho joints. White subway tile walls with nice wood floors. The place looks like it'll seat 30 or so, but it was dead on this Sunday night. Only 2 other tables (groups of 6+) were there that night.
  • Price (B-) - Standard pho prices which kick ars - pho is about $7, but the service was not great so that subtracts from the grade.
Closing Comments
Even though the service was hella slow, it's 100% worth the visit since the pho broth was out of control good. Definitely will return and try out some other dishes next time.

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