Best Vietnamese Restaurant - 2011
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
The French just add a certain flair to everything—in this case, the Vietnamese dining experience, which, let's be honest, often lacks ambiance. Not so at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, which is, in fact, a French-Vietnamese fusion (guests will find steak au poivre and duck cassoulet de l'indochine next to the traditional pho and bún). Situated on grubby University Avenue, the restaurant feels more like a Soho café, with large, street-facing windows, blond hardwood floors, and airy curtains. Hip art hangs on the walls, and each table is adorned with fresh flowers. Fresh is the name of the game here. Owners Hai Truong and Jessica Ainsworth-Truong are dedicated locavores, serving everything from organic Peace Coffee to Thousand Hills beef to produce from the St. Paul Farmers' Market. Naturally the menu changes with the seasons, but the traditional Vietnamese fare is consistent and not to be missed. Truong's pho has been lauded as the best in the Cities (fighting words for die-hard Quang fans), and it holds up to the reputation. The bún (tender rib eye served over vermicelli noodles and assorted greens) is nothing short of heavenly. Diner's tip: Order in versus takeout—you'll get more food for the money with days' worth of leftovers.