Pho is a funny dish. The ingredients are not difficult to acquire nor are they particularly expensive but once you have figured out the right chemistry all you need is a big cauldron and people will flock to you like crack addicts. There are a number of places in the DC area (primarily in Falls Church) who have figured out the right chemistry yet none of them truly compliment the culinary quality of their dishes with a commensurate aesthetic experience. For a while I have been waiting for something like this to appear – something like Momofuku. Saigon Bistro takes a step forward but is still lacking some key components that would make it a local hotspot.
Cost – $
Service – B-
I visited the restaurant late on a Sunday afternoon so I wasn’t expecting the A-team and not surprisingly I didn’t get it. My server was a friendly, quiet young man who was just doing his job – better than some of the cranks I have gotten at Nam Viet and other Vietnamese restaurants in the area.
Food – B
The pho was not quite at the level of Pho 75 but clearly ahead of Nam Viet in Cleveland Park and either of the Vietnamese restaurants in Georgetown. If I were in Dupont and craving pho I would definitely recommend Saigon Bistro however it probably isn’t good enough to warrant a cross-town trip.
Décor – B-
The visual design of Saigon Bistro is not cheesy and that is the best thing you can say about it. It has a clean, modern interior that reminds me of Chipotle.
Feel – C+
I don’t know if I’m being harsh given the fact that I would return to the restaurant in a second if I was in the area but I suppose I’m a little disappointed because I think there was a great opportunity for Saigon Bistro to do something significant but instead, I feel like they settled for above-average.