Bo Bites here!
I’m a local foodie in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. My writings include musical lyrics from popular songs along with my food reviews. I recently received my gold badge from Yelp and I write for a local cultural website called AZCulture -www.azculture.com. Here are my current favorite places to bring my dates. Hope find them just as romantic and fun!
The heat is on in Saigon! I was asked by Chef Dennis Tran to attend his restaurant when I first met him at Slanted Rice in Scottsdale; his sisters restaurant. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect since I generally don’t venture out in the West side too often.
I went with a fellow Yelper, Jennifer H. to check it out. From what I heard this place is pretty darn good. Saigon Kitchen has received multiple accolades and write-ups from everyday Yelper to local news like AZ Central and national recognition from Trip Advisor. Needless to say, I was quite excited to have been invited by owner Chef Dennis! Saigon Kitchen is very spacious restaurant with a full bar; different compared to your average Vietnamese restaurant. The place was popping with patrons as I can hear a buzz of chatter! I sat with Chef Dennis and he offered to order for us a plethora of appetizers and entrees. He also introduced me to his General Manager & Marketing Director; Andy Tran and Brian Garcia. Both of these gentlemen were transplants to Arizona and been in the restaurant business at a very young age. Andy & Brian are very young; in their early 20s, but ambitious fellows from what I gather. Let’s jump over to the food cause that’s what we’re here for. Chef Dennis laid out a spectacle of dishes for us:
Coconut Shrimp: Deep fried encrusted coconut shrimp; very crunchy and the smell coconut is alluring. I love coconut! Chef Dennis assured me all his fried food was cooked in either sesame or olive oil...not your traditional canola oil.
Tempura Battered Shrimp: Like what the name of the dish; its tempura batter shrimp and came with two sides of sweet & sour sauce and chipotle. A crunchy bite and a kick of spice with the chipotle sauce; great with some beer as I ate!
Eggroll wrapped Spring Roll: As simple as this may be, why didn’t anybody think of this earlier? I love texture and the eggroll definitely provided that with the subtleness of the spring roll. The eggroll was Chef Dennis’s mother’s recipe and yes indeed; mom does know best here!
Saigon Chicken Wings: Chicken wings deep fried and doused with their house sauce, but the bulk of the mixture was definitely sweet and sour sauce with a hint of Siracha. A decent bite since I generally enjoy my wings naked and adding my own sauce. Saigon Stir Fry: Fried noodles with choice of meat, ours had Cha Sui & Shrimp mixed with carrots, onions, mushrooms, cilantro, bok choy and bean sprouts. Love fresh fried noodles with fresh vegetables and the scent of cilantro. Aromatic and fresh crunch gave this noodle entree and addicting bite! Rack of Pork with Garlic Noodles: Pork chops with a seared with garlic noodles. The sauce was sweet and the pork was slightly charred giving it smokiness. The tender pork was cooked just right with a little pink and the garlic noodles were again aromatic with the sting of garlic -- This was definitely my favorite! Surf & Turf Shaken Beef: On a hot sizzling platter filet mignon & shrimp with mushroom and onions with a side of rice. This dish was as delectable as it sounds...love the sizzle caramelizing the onions bringing out the scent with the filet was uber tender. Salmon Pho: This was salmon belly cooked with pho broth; totally blew my mind how good this was! I never thought of adding salmon to pho since it doesn’t wound right, but at Saigon Kitchen Chef Dennis is innovative and playful with his dishes. This is currently not on the menu but let’s just say stay tuned! We ended with Saigon Dessert, tempura banana with organic honey and cinnamon; we also added coconut ice cream to it.....YUM! Chef Dennis has no training as a chef and has acquired his love to cook mainly from passion. His mother was a former top chef from Tokyo and her teachings was his inspiration to be a chef and restauranteur. His dream is to expand among the valley with sister restaurants with different concepts catering to local Phoenicians. Chef Dennis is definitely ambitious like Andy and Brian salivating at bringing the love of Vietnamese fusion style food to the valley. Needless to say, they were all humble from where they began and never forgot that. They love what they do, but know it takes a daily grind to make their dreams come true! - Enjoy!