Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Simply Vietnamese, Simply Uninspiring

Simply Vietnamese

Tenafly, NJ 07670     

On a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon in January, post Zero Dark Thirty (which we highly recommend seeing, by the way), a sudden craving for Asian food came over us. In a town with quite a few restaurants covering all types of cuisines, we followed a friends advice and ventured to Simply Vietnamese. We have had Vietnamese food before and really enjoyed it, so we honestly had some high expectations going in. 

As we entered the restaurant, we noticed it was relatively empty with only a few other tables (sometimes not a good sign...). We picked a seat by the window and our waitress came over promptly with menus, water, and puffed rice cakes with a yummy dipping sauce. Looking over the menu, we decided to pick an appetizer, pho soup, and noodle dish.

Our meal started with an appetizer of vegetable summer rolls with a peanut dipping sauce. We really enjoyed that the vegetables inside of the rolls had different textures and flavors. Overall the summer rolls themselves were light and refreshing, and the sauce added some needed richness.
The broth of the spicy jerk beef "pho" (quotations on the menu...probably for a reason) was flavorful, with a definitive sweetness to it, but unfortunately was not spicy enough. They did provide jalapeños for added heat, but that does sacrifice a lot of the Pho flavor already in the broth naturally. A good beginner Pho for people looking to slowly work their way to the deep end of Vietnamese cuisine.  
The house noodles with vegetables were in a brown sauce that was tasty, but there were a lot of onions and not enough variety of vegetables. Unfortunately, it could have been a dish ordered from any general Asian restaurant. There was nothing special or out of the ordinary about it. Maybe this is what we get for ordering house noodles. 
Overall, Simply Vietnamese is good, but not great. The atmosphere is nothing extraordinary and definitely does not scream "Vietnamese". The service was all right and the food was pretty much run-of-the-mill. If you want to try Vietnamese food and are not that adventurous, it is a good place to start, but we will not be running back for more in the near future.

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