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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Saigon Spring (Halfmoon, NY)


There’s a new Vietnamese restaurant in the Capital Region.

It’s about time.


Every time I went up to Clifton Park I would check to see if Saigon Spring had finally opened. And it was always closed… until last week. They had a grand opening special the first few days – 20 percent off your total bill. Even more incentive to check the place out.

I checked out their website before heading up to see what they had to offer. They have lunch and dinner menus, which for the most part are identical. Prices for lunch are slightly less, as you would expect for lunch, and there are different vegetarian options for each service.


The dining area is open, with a room in the back for large groups and one wall all booths. As you can see, they didn’t pack the room in with tables, there’s actually space to move around. On the bar were a number of floral arrangements, which I suppose is normal when you have a grand opening. There’s a flat screen television behind the bar, and from what I remember, a couple of pictures along the booth wall.

How do you judge what makes a good restaurant? I like to pick familiar items, and if they turn out well, I am more inclined to try the not-so-familiar items. I ordered pho, fried spring rolls (cha gio), and vegetarian summer rolls (goi cuon chay).


Oh, how I’ve missed meat filled spring rolls! It seems like every Vietnamese restaurant I go to serves them on the small side… and only four! But still, they were pretty good. And as was suggested on the menu, I wrapped it up with the lettuce, herbs, and pickled items. Messy, but tasty.


The  summer rolls were on the bland side. I definitely could taste the tofu, and the rest was muted. It’s mostly noodles, and they were flavorless. The menu says that it has mint and bean sprouts, but I don’t think my order had any… or if it did it was a scant amount. There was definitely lettuce – aside from the tofu, it was the only other ingredient that stood out as I ate it. A dip in the vegetarian sauce helped.


It seemed like all the other patrons in the restaurant ordered the pho, but could you blame us? It’s warm and satisfying, which was perfect since the day I stopped in was pretty chilly. The broth was light, and fragrant. The beef was very tender, noodles thin.

Yep, I left Saigon Spring pleasantly full and ready to tackle some clothes shopping. Coincidentally, I ran into the people who were sitting in the both next to mine. I asked how they liked it, and they thought it was great and glad that they could go somewhere other than Albany for Vietnamese food.

Hear that, Saigon Spring? You got three votes of confidence.

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