Last week I was in the mood for soup. I had a sore throat and the only things which helped were hot liquids. I wasn’t in the mood for your typical soup and and hoped that a nice big bowl of pho would fit the bill much like I had hoped when we hit up Saigon Palace in Burnsville a few weeks prior.
While searching for pho in the South Metro I stumbled across a website which specializes in reviews of pho. The listing for Classic Saigon’s previous location raved about their offering and claimed their soup was, “absolutely the best Pho I’ve found in the states.” Not wanting to miss the best pho in the States, we headed over to Classic Saigon in Eagan.
We arrived fairly early and were the only people in the restaurant. We were seated and waited on promptly. The menu is massive and Classic Saigon offers additional help by placing pictures of their dishes on 8.5×11 sheets of paper (for each item) all over the wall of the restaurant. While this many not sound too crazy, when you consider they have nearly 150 items, it can seem overwhelming either way. After some quick decision making we settled on eggrolls and cream cheese wontons for appetizers (mostly for The Rooster who was also sick), Chicken Fried Rice for The Wife, Pho Classic Saigon Dac Biet, a pickled lime drink and shredded pork spring rolls.
The eggrolls and wontons were out first. The eggrolls had a light and flaky crust but some oil was still leaking from them as I ate. The greasy eggrolls were fine for me, certainly better than those so many restaurants serve but The Wife didn’t like them very much. While they were originally intended for The Rooster, we ended up taking more than half of that one home. At $3.50 for two this wasn’t a bad deal but certainly not something I’d go out of my way to try again.
The wontons were large and also greasy. They were filled to the gills with cheese but were slightly overdone for our liking. I took one bite and passed on the rest but The Wife and The Rooster seemed ok with them and the provided sauce. You get 6 large wontons for $3.50 so if you’re looking for a greasy filler this one may be for you but certainly don’t expect any mind blowing experiences here.
A little while later The Wife’s Chicken Fried Rice came out. What it gave up in looks it made up for in size. For about $9 this would feel two people easily. Unfortunately that’s about all you can say that’s positive about the dish. It’s not that it was off-putting, it just didn’t taste like much of anything at all. The Wife didn’t eat much of it at all and we took it home. I tried it the next day both plain and with some Sriracha but it just wasn’t all that appetizing. This was a big pass for me and made me realize that taking The Wife to Vietnamese restaurants just isn’t something I’m going to do again in the future.
My Pho was a smallish 8-10″ bowl for the price (also around $9). The basil, jalapenos (I asked for extra) and lime were fresh and plentiful but that’s about where my joy of this dish ends. The broth itself, while previously described as the best in the States, was filled with oil and/or fat. While it reflected the taste of the ingredients well (such as the basil), the oil coating my mouth and sliding over my tongue and down the back of my throat was so gross that I just didn’t even want to finish the dish. The noodles were a congealed mass in the center and I really just didn’t care at all for the meats (sliced beef, brisket, tendon and meatballs). While the meats weren’t anything terrible, they couldn’t pull this disgusting mess together. This was a very big disappointment for me and a definite pass. Hey Classic Saigon…this is Minnesota! Stick your pot of broth outside for a few hours and skim that nasty fat before you serve it to people. Yuck.
The pickled lime drink was strong and interesting. While I’d never had it before, I love strong flavors and especially lime. While it reminded me a lot of the salty/sweet taste of lemon-lime Gatorade, I think I’d order this one again if I saw it on a menu elsewhere.
Overall, Classic Saigon in Eagan was, for lack of a better phrase, utterly and completely nasty. The fact that they would serve me pho which clearly had tons of oil/grease/fat floating on top was simply unacceptable. No one would want to have that feeling in their mouth while they eat. It was like eating canned chicken noodle soup and throwing in some vegetable oil for good measure. Yuck.
Have you ever eaten at Classic Saigon in Eagan (at either location)? Was their old location better? If you have eat there what did you order and what did you think? Did you have the pho? Was it a greasy mess or was it the best pho you’d ever had? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
1272 Town Centre Dr
Eagan, MN 55123