The start of (my) new summer brings the start of some more posts! Yesterday, I met up with my friend Evan to get lunch and we decided to try out a new(ish) Vietnamese place in my old neighborhood, called Saiguette. They still had their “Grand Opening” sign up outside, but it opened at the end of last summer on the corner of 106th and Columbus. This corner has actually been an interesting spot for restaurant turn-around in the past. When I was in middle school, there was a very greasy burger/pizza/fries place there (I’m forgetting the name of it right now) which closed after a few years and Fortago took its place, which had your basic salads, rotisserie chicken, and burgers. I actually never went there but my brother was a big fan of Fortago. But like everything else in New York, the corner restaurant changed yet again and upon seeing the sign for Saiguette last summer before it opened, I was pretty excited to try it out!
I certainly wasn’t disappointed. When we got to Saiguette, I read the entire menu and had a hard time deciding what to get. I was originally excited about Saiguette because I knew they offered a banh mi sandwich, which is one of my favorite sandwiches of all time. The banh mi is usually made on a baguette with roasted pork belly or a combination of ham pâté and pork and pickled carrot, cucumber, cilantro, mayo, chili sauce, and sometimes cheese. It’s the most savory, flavorful sandwich and I still haven’t had a banh mi better than the ones at Nicky’s Vietnamese Sandwiches (which is apparently closed now! :’(). Saiguette actually has a bunch of different banh mi on their menu, including the Classic (pâté and pork terrine), Grilled Lemon Grass Pork Shoulder, Grilled Chicken Tenderloin, and Crispy Spiced Shrimp. They also have a full Vietnamese menu including curries, stews, steaks, noodles, soups, salads, and even desserts. It was really a lot to choose from!
I actually wish I had been hungrier so I could have eaten a sandwich or a bigger dish, but I ended up getting their Grilled Chicken Satay, which was delicious and cheap! It’s meant to be an appetizer but it was well worth the price and the perfect size. I got four skewers of chicken which were all fairly big as far as satay usually goes, and the chicken was perfectly tender and moist. It was also really flavorful and the taste of peanut, coconut, garlic, and lemongrass really came through. The satay sauce was also incredibly good. It was sort of tangy and a little more acidic than the usual peanut satay sauce, although it had peanuts in it too. The satay came with a side of pickled carrot and cucumber, which was a refreshing addition to the chicken.
I’ll definitely have to return to try their banh mi and everything else some other day but the satay was a good first taste of Saiguette and enough to convince me to come back. The restaurant is pretty small and feels like a take-out place but they do have nice counters with comfy stools to sit and eat in. It’s all counter service and the food is served in take-out containers so it’s a fast and easy place to get a bite to eat on the go. They also deliver, so that’s another option!
935 Columbus Avenue (on the southeast corner of 106th street)
I have since returned to Saiguette for their banh mi sandwich and it is fantastic. I tried out their Roasted Pork Banh Mi, which has sweet/spicy roasted pork shoulder, cucumber, pickled carrot, pickled jalapeno, and Sriracha chili mayo all on a baguette. I seriously can’t get enough of this sandwich! I might do a whole blog post on it. All of the flavor work together so well and the bread is fresh and a little bit doughy which cuts the spice and soaks up the mayo and pork sauce really nicely. The roast pork itself is tremendously tasty and I recently ordered just the roast pork with sticky rice, which was great too, but I would recommend the sandwich above all else.