We have not been back to Saigon Sisters since Matt Riordan became the new executive chef so it was time to try out this family-owned Vietnamese joint. So we made a last minute reservation through TableSAVVY, an awesome start-up that provides last-minute restaurant reservations at 30% off the final bill!
I ran a bit late so Andrew took the liberty to order, starting with a beautiful, thinly-sliced green papaya salad that was splashed with colors from a mix of shrimp, pork belly, house-made jerky, peanuts and fried shallots. All of these solid ingredients were bound together with nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce that encompasses the four S’s: sweet, salty, sour and a bit spicy! This is the perfect summer salad.
Saigon Sisters creates a twist on the traditional banh bao, which is normally a steamed, ball-shaped bun stuffed with meat or vegetables. Here, they make pairs of banh baos, of which we had the lamb burger ones. Instead of steaming the bun, these are lightly fried, producing a golden glisten on the slightly crunchy surface. Just loved the flavors, especially the bite at the end from the jalapeno jelly!
We were then presented with petite crab cakes with a side of asparagus and radish salad. These crab cakes honestly remind me of puffy clouds with their light, almost fluffy texture. Never have I ever had a crab cake that tasted so healthy. The accompanying sauce is a smooth yuzu pudding that provided a gentle look and slightly fruity flavor to the entire dish.
The lamb luc lac is phenomenally tender with a tasty oyster sauce. There is a salad of arugula on the side, and despite the fact that I normally dislike arugula, I must say that paired with the lamb, the bitterness of this plant was actually fitting.
When the scallop chao was presented, it was a burst of spring in a bowl. With a thick, creamy congee base, beautifully seared scallops and magenta-colored quail eggs that were pickled with beets, this dish is a flavor harmony.
Andrew is always in need of some kimchee when a restaurant serves it so we ordered the seasonal kimchee platter. The most surprising item on this platter was either the oranges or the brussel sprouts. Overall, this plate of pickled vegetables was packing serious heat.
In fact, right afterwards, Andrew sprung for the iced Vietnamese coffee, which has a base of condensed milk to counteract that spice from the kimchee. He slurped it up so quickly I think our waiter was a bit shocked. As someone who dislikes coffee, I loved this drink – it was spot on.
I couldn’t help but get the banana bread pudding, which was much different from what I had expected. It was more of a bar of banana bread pudding, but I’m not complaining!
Saigon Sisters does wonders with simple ingredients. It is definitely the go-to place for Vietnamese in the city!
- Sign up with TableSAVVY – it’s an awesome deal, especially on top of the reasonable prices at Saigon Sisters.
- Saigon Sisters also has locations at the French Market and Northwestern Memorial Hospital!
- Share the dishes – family style is the way to go these days!