After a long day of birthday partying with the six and under set, Izzy and I were in need of a soothing, quiet dinner. He chose, yes, you guessed it, Vietnamese. When we got off the Path we headed straight for Saigon Cafe, a small, family-run restaurant on Newark Avenue.
We have been eating there since we moved to Jersey City almost three and a half years ago and the food is consistently good. Mind you, it is not dazzling, just simply prepared and homey. It was there that Izzy learned to eat Vietnamese spring rolls - wrapped in lettuce with pickled carrots, cucumbers and mint. It was there that he also sampled Peppercorn Squid and Chicken and Mint Salad with Peanuts, both dishes that we order quite frequently.
Of late, Izzy and I have grown fond of the Tofu and Cabbage Soup made with a ginger-chicken broth. Today it was especially fragrant, full of gingery tidbits and what appeared to be fried shallots. We also shared a homey dish of Tofu and Chicken with mixed vegetables on a bed of soft noodles. We have been eating that dish for about a year now and I think it helped Izzy develop a taste for mushrooms and water chestnuts.
The best part of this place is that we are regulars, and this always adds to the dining experience. The entire staff is friendly and welcoming, not to mention extremely kid-friendly.
Oh, and did I mention the desserts? Try the Banana-Tapioca pudding or the Three Yam dessert for a warm comforting ending to your meal.