BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT - 2006
Just inside Mai Village's exquisitely embroidered menus, before the lists of Vietnamese delicacies including sesame beef and steamed walleye in ginger-soy sauce, reads the sentence: "We are a family business concerned with your satisfaction." This tiny phrase says it all; from the wall of green bamboo stalks to your last course of seven-course beef, Mai Village's attention to detail is unmatched in Minnesota, and probably in Vietnam. Entering the restaurant, you traipse across a wooden bridge over a pond full of actual koi goldfish. You then sink into a cushy booth or a hand-carved chair inside a wooden re-creation of a community hall from Vietnam's last dynasty. You are attended to by a slender young man in black pants, and he brings you cuisine from the cities of central Vietnam: bouncy spring rolls with plum sauce and sautéed mock duck with a kick resting on a tangle of rice noodles and lettuce. Try the grilled fish with green mango; it's superb. And guard it carefully—as you cross the bridge on your way out the door, the koi rise to the surface of the pond and open their tiny mouths as if to inquire, "Leftovers?"