One would think that a hick from Albany wouldn't end up at 106th and Columbus Ave. in Manhattan eating pho, but I had help from The Village Voice. Thanks to Google I entered "pho upper west side" and got a Village Voice article about the 10 best restaurants. Apparently it's not a neighborhood known for good eating, however the food writer in question waxed enthusiastic. With that tip I took off walking to Saiguette, determined to try this little seven-seater joint. I'm soooooo glad I did.
It comes as a kit. I ordered brisket and eye of round. This time I squeezed the lime juice over everything before pouring the broth and it was a good thing to do.
The broth is served plenty hot enough to cook the beef. I rhapsodize over this broth because it is robust and delicious. As you may guess, if you haven't eaten a lot of pho, it's the broth that determines everything. This had an aroma of anise and ginger with a good balance of salty fish sauce. Otherwise pho is just a list of very plain ingredients and some chilis. This broth is on the salty side, which I find to really bring everything together and not leave the noodles behind as a pile of plain rice starch.
After slurping off the broth, this final group of meat, sprouts and chili is ready to devour with the last of the hoisin and sriracha.
Then one waddles out, wholly satisfied and warm into the December afternoon.
I'm looking forward to re-tasting local pho and trying what I haven't yet tasted to see where the good stuff is in our region.