Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nha Trang Place

We were in Jersey City earlier today and decided to have dinner before heading home. I was in the mood for some Vietnamese food and remembered reading about Nha Trang Place. If you are familiar with Jersey City, you would know that parking can be a big problem here. You would have to drive round and round the block to get a parking spot. There is a large parking lot next to this restaurant, reserved for it's customers. That sealed the deal for us.

Do not be confused over the many signs in front of the shop. There is one saying "Pho Tan Haoi" and another saying "Miss Saigon Cafe". I am guessing they didn't bother to change the signs after buying over the shop :P It's a relatively big restaurant and it was full when we walked in. 90% of the customers were Vietnamese families, now to me, that's a very good sign. The decor is nothing to shout about and I wouldn't say its the cleanest place I have been to. It's basically a no frills restaurant. The staff were very friendly though.

One glace at the menu and I was pleasantly surprised. It was very affordable and you can get a basic bowl of Pho for as low as $3.75. We each ordered a Pho and shared two appetizers. Within 3 mins, our first appetizer arrived! I am not kidding! Maybe less than 3 mins. I ordered, took out my camera to take a photo of the menu and before I could put the camera away, the first appetizer arrived!

Of course we had to order the Goi Cuon ($3.75 for 2 rolls) . It's more commonly known as the Summer Roll. The prawns were very fresh and large. I just love the sauce that comes with it! My only complain is that the rice paper was very sticky and we had difficulty biting into it. I think the rolls were made in advance, thus causing that to happen. Fresh ingredients and good sauce but nothing really spectacular. I would rate it a 6/10.
Our second appetizer was the Cha Gio ($4.25 for 4 pieces). This is the Vietnamese Spring Roll. I took one taste of that and I was like WOW! It's really really good. I only know that it's stuffed with minced pork, shrimp and mushrooms. I do not know what else is in there or how the stuffing was marinated. All I know is that it's really good and we even took some home!! I would give a high 9/10 for this.

I ordered the Pho Dac Biet ($5.95) as my main. Dac Biet actually means "Special" in Vietnamese. It usually means " a combination of everything" in this context. My rice noodle came with briskets, navel, frank, omosa, tendon and eye of round. Yup, the whole works! The beef broth was pretty good and the beef slices were tender. Apart from that, I would say it tasted like any other Pho. Just an average 6/10.

Kevin had the Pho Suon Nuong ($6.25). That was the best dish for the night! It's rice noodles in beef broth with grilled pork chops by the side. The pork chops were out of this world! I told him that I would most definitely order that the next time around. It was tender and had this smoky BBQ taste to it. There was a tinge of sweetness to the marinade and it was lovely. The pho was of course just average. I would give a 10/10 for the pork chops!! Yes, its THAT good!!
The meal came with complimentary hot tea but we ordered the Ice Vietnamese tea with Condense Milk ($1.95). It's good but the glass it's served in is really really tiny. We wanted to try some desserts like the Che Ba Mau (Rainbow Ice with Coconut Milk) but we were already too stuffed. Maybe the next time.

We had a great dinner and will most definitely return for more Spring Rolls and Pork Chops! Another super yummy dinner below $25 for two. This is the place to go to if you are looking for a quick, no frills but authentic and great tasting Vietnamese meal.

There is a Vietnamese grocery store just next to this restaurant, run by the same owners. We went in to look around after dinner and it was pretty interesting. It's a small grocery store but the prices are very low compared to the other bigger ones. We bought a box of chrysanthemum tea for only $1!! I was told that they would sell freshly made Bahn Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches) on Saturday afternoons. I must remember to check it out one of these Saturdays.

Nha Trang Place
294 Newark Avenue,
Jersey City, NJ 07302
Tel: (201) 239-1988
Map: View map

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