Monday, July 23, 2012

Fine Dining: Nguyen

You know how they say you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry, and by "they" I mostly mean my relatives because I come from a long line of women buying random foods because they were hungry? You should also never drive through Fayette County when you're hungry because all it takes is one Fat Angelo's sign, and all of a sudden you find yourself fantasizing about where to get take-out or who will deliver. Or maybe that's just me. After all, my boyfriend did recently tell me that my train of thought usually loops back around to food.

This is how a trip home ended in picking up food from Nguyen, the new-ish Vietnamese place that gets nothing but love.

Somehow, Nguyen always gets compared to Shogun, the new-ish Japenese hibachi place. I blame this on similar menus and prices--or the fact that everyone who's been to both just likes to say Nguyen is better. They would be correct.

Now, I was only getting take-out, but even waiting for a few minutes to pay and wait for my straggling miso soup gave me a good idea of the atmosphere. At the time, it was quiet, though I wouldn't be surprised if they get pretty busy--my mom told me she's seen the pack numerous take-out bags during weekday lunch. It was also very pretty and nicely decorated, which makes it the nice, romantic choice as opposed to Shogun, where you go to party and maybe get drunk. Plus Nguyen's staff was excellent, even just for waiting on take-out. They made sure we'd actually been waited on and were very nice. And then we noticed the mass amounts of food you get.

My family is used to take-out. We don't do it often, but we've done everything from boxes from Vinny's and Fat Angelo's to tons of cartons from the Chinese buffet. Nguyen might've had the most food and bags of any place--three bags containing four entrees plus their sides and other little things we got. Each entree came with soup and salad, and the entrees were huge anyway.

Look at all the food and a brother ready to OM NOM NOM.
My brother got some kind of shrimp, my dad got a crab cake and fried rice, and my mom got hibachi shrimp. I went for vegetarian pad thai. Fun fact: I've only ever had microwaveable pad thai and a little taste of a friend's in Mexico. Non-vegetarian entrees come with onion soup, plus the salads are a little different. Vegetarian entrees come with miso soup. I don't know what's in miso soup aside from what I recognized as tofu, but I do know I devoured it. I also devoured a bunch of cucumber rolls, so I pretty much had a few forkfuls of my pad thai before I had to quite...and devour more cucumber rolls and the salad later. Note for the vegetarians: they have a fair number of options from entrees to rolls, and I believe any meat you'd get normally is replaced with tofu.

Nguyen's California rolls also get compared a lot to Shogun's, with the consensus being Nguyen's are better.

In the end, I was stuffed and thrilled. We ordered Saturday, and here I am on Monday, still eating leftovers--which is the only area in which Nguyen falls short, but that's not their fault. Pad thai just does not work well reheated. It's not as moist and tasty. It's kind of a tease, really. You know what it's capable of and what it once was, but it just cannot reach that former glory no matter what. But if I had some more cucumber rolls...

 Nguyen Seafood & Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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