358 Passaic Avenue, Nutley NJ
When your favorite restaurants close, there is always a mourning period. Sometimes, you know that they are going to be gone forever, but in other cases, you get a glimmer of hope, hearing rumors that they may open again somewhere else.
One such restaurant was Little Saigon in Montclair, a Vietnamese favorite with a loyal clientele. Little Saigon had closed before, due to a fire in its original Nutley location on Franklin Avenue in 2003. The restaurant re-opened in 2005 in a much larger Montclair space on Elm Street. In October of 2009, Little Saigon closed suddenly and without any warning.
But late last year we heard rumors that the owners were going to re-open, and re-open it did, in the original town where it all started, in Nutley. However, “Little Saigon” is no longer — it has returned to business, with the same owners, as Huong Viet on Passaic Avenue, in a much more manageable space than its previous location.
Huong Viet is the new Pho King of Nutley. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
Huong Viet’s storefront on Passaic Avenue in Nutley. I had some trepidation with the restaurant opening so close to another local Vietnamese favorite, Binh Duong in nearby Bloomfield, which opened shortly after Little Saigon’s original Nutley location burned down in 2003.
However, Little Saigon is more upscale and can accommodate larger parties and more diners, whereas Binh Duong’s menu is somewhat different and is in more of the $25 and under category. Now that I have dined at both, I believe the area will be able to accommodate two very good and yet different Vietnamese restaurants.
Main Dining Room (daylight)
Main Dining Room (lunchtime)
Main Dining Room (evening)
Waitress dressed in traditional Vietnamese Gown for Lunar New Year (Tet). A large group of us gathered for the first night of Tet/Chinese New Year, which coincided with Valentine’s Day in 2010.
Spring Rolls (Cha Gio). These are filled with vegetables, pork and cellophane noodles.
Spring Roll Cross Section
Fried Squid on a different occasion
Beef Rolls with Rice Noodles
Shrimp and Pork Crepe (Banh Xeo) made with rice flour, tumeric and coconut milk and stuffed with shrimp, pork and beansprouts.
Wonton (Huanh Tanh) Soup, lunch portion
Pho Soup. Huong Viet’s has a strong anise and beef bone flavor, which as it should be.
Combination Pho Closeup
Shrimp and Pork Cabbage Salad
Shrimp and Green Papaya Salad (Photo by Eric Eisenbud)
Fried Sweet Potato Bird Nests with Shrimp
Vietnamese Chicken Curry with Sweet Potato
Pork Casserole with Caramel Sauce. One of my all-time favorite Vietnamese dishes, and Huong Viet’s is excellent. (Photo by Eric Eisenbud)
Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon)
Summer Roll cross section
Lemongrass Shrimp (Lunch Portion)
Grilled Pork Meatballs with Rice Noodles
Fried Vietnamese Catfish, a table favorite
Sauteed Mustard Greens with Garlic
Mustard Green Soup with Pork and Shrimp, one of my favorite soups, both healthy and satisfying.
Curry Frog Legs
Shrimp in Curry
Grilled Ginger Beef Rolls
Boneless Stuffed Chicken with Chestnuts, Pork, Apricots
Chicken with Sauteed Vegetables
Beef Wrapped in Grape Leaves
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Vietnamese Egg Custard (Flan)