There are dozens of Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall joints in town that are long on flavor but short on ambiance. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro in St. Paul does things a bit differently. The stylish restaurant is bright and airy. Most of what's offered is prepared with local, organic ingredients, including one of the best bowls of pho in the Twin Cities. The broth is made with beef bones from the grass-fed cows of Thousand Hills Cattle Co., simmered for a day and a half to yield an intense yet nuanced flavor that wins the pho fight hands down. Among the vermicelli salads and dumplings are menu items that reflect the French influence on Vietnamese cooking. Try a Croque Madame with pho-spiced Mornay sauce or a dinner special with a European bent. Wash it down with a craft cocktail — the drinks are on par with some of the best bar programs in town. Maybe your bill is a little higher than at your neighborhood joint, but you won't be sorry you splurged.