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Friday, March 14, 2008

Saigon adds speed and spice to East 4th

Posted By on Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Saigon (2061 East 4th Street, Cleveland. 216-344-2020), the new Vietnamese place in downtown’s emerging East 4th District, has only been open three weeks. But it’s already attracted a devoted following. The bright, cozy restaurant has an Oriental flair, complemented by woven bamboo mats and real, wooden chopsticks -- none of those toothpick-like-disposable silverware is served here, thank you very much. On a recent Tuesday, the place was filled with lots of downtown after-workers, looking to catch a quick bite before heading home the night. ... Part of the restaurant’s appeal is its reasonable prices – the noodle dishes are all $12-$16. The other is its taste. The restaurant is owned by the same people who run #1 Pho, and the dishes have the same highly seasoned bite that the Superior Avenue location is known for. The restaurant adds a nice, quick-service addition to the hopping East 4th Street locale. Unlike Lola or Zocolo, a diner can be in and out in thirty minutes. We were confused, however, to see that many of the so-called “vegetarian” dishes came with a pork-based sauces. But it turns out it was all a mistake. All of the vegetarian dishes are truly vegetarian. No pork or pig-based substances anywhere in the dishes. Managers didn’t fix the mistake on the menu because they thought drawing a black marker through the menu would look “ugly,” they explained. Look for new, revised menus soon. -- Rebecca Meiser

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