Miss Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant in Georgetown, is plastered with award plaques from Washingtonian magazine. I went in because it was more professional-looking (the awards, an open space inside with tan and black minimalist decor) than its competitors. I haven’t gone to another Vietnamese place in that area since.
I always sit at the bar. The first thing I ordered was their “Soy Bean Drink”. It came out of a can. It’s sweet and tangy enough not to taste like traditional soymilk, which generally tastes like baby food. Miss Saigon’s soymilk is delicious: if you look enough at it you might even be able to see black specks, like you see in vanilla bean ice cream. It tastes a lot like Yeos Soy Bean Drink, which I used to buy for $1 in Philly’s Chinatown. They sell it for $2.95. But I guess that’s how they make a profit.
I order the same thing every time: Caramel Tofu for $8.95. It’s always great, except this time it was a little drier than usual. There’s lots of green onions on top of the golden brown tofu, and the little fried onion pieces in the caramelized sauce are a great contrast. The caramel tofu is filling enough not to need anything else, but I got a coconut ice cream for dessert. It was thicker than regular ice cream and had chewy coconut flakes on top. They made it taste just like coconut.
Miss Saigon opened in 1996 in Adams Morgan, and moved to Georgetown a few years later. The owner, Thanh Do, is from Saigon. He’s the assistant chef as well. The main chef is named Lili Banaha. Vietnamese places are pretty ubiquitous, but there’s a lot of variation in them. Miss Saigon is one of the best I’ve been to, and it didn’t put much of a dent in my wallet either.
Chef: Lini Banaha
Recommended Dish: Caramel Tofu
Atmosphere: Casual, Minimalist
Price Range: $15-$30 per person
Clientele: I saw a lot of Asians there, which is a good sign.
3057 M Street Northwest
Washington DC 20007