Stuck in a Lawyer's office conference room in the upper East-Side of Manhattan for an extended meeting. I knew they had planned to cater a meal for all of us so we wouldn't have to leave the building. When I saw it was something from an Asian restaurant, I expected the standard Asian fair - you know - the stuff found on every Asian menu throughout NYC.
BOY WAS I WRONG! ! !
They had dumplings that were really tender. The chicken in their dishes were chunks - not pressed chicken meal slivers. Their beef sticks had taste and flavor, not just salted meat slices on a stick. The Spring Rolls were served the way I like them, crispy on the outside with a slight crunch of the veggie's inside ... not the overcooked mush that most places serve. The sauces all seemed clean, light and fresh, not the starch-thickened, gelatinous stuff used by most places.
But the best thing I've ate that day was their Sea Bass dish. Big, thick, pieces that flaked apart in a light sauce over perfectly steamed greens. My only complaint is that I ate this last. My happiness was that so did everyone else in the room that day, so I had the fortune to take the rest of the tray home with me when our meeting was all over. I also got the name and address to the place ........... what surprised me was how far away they were from the Upper East Side!
A few weeks later, I had a hankering for that Sea Bass dish, so we went. It was so very worth the trip! We've been back a few times since and tried many things on the menu and I'm always impressed with how delicious everything is.
After being there a few times, we happened to meet the owners. A vivacious, engaging couple who really wants every customer to enjoy their meal. These people take customer satisfaction personally - and it shows from the bartenders to the wait staff. The food is always pipping hot and any special request is met with speedy service. And you can't beat the freshness of the fish as they also own a live fish distribution company - it doesn't get better than that! I have been introduced to a new Asian dinning experience ... and it's fantastic.
A bonus is the bar area. As we know, meeting someone in NYC requires leaving a window for traffic or subway delays. They're inevitable in the Big Apple, so if you're found waiting at the bar, there are TV's for distraction, and the staff is more than willing to change the station to accommodate the audience till their friends show up. Nice touch.
OH - and it's not Saigon Grill --- it's SAIGON MARKET --- and it's delicious!
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