Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mekong Grill is Pho-Tastic!

Mekong Grill
24 Chestnut Street
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Friday evening, after a long week at work, like most people, the last thing we want to do is cook dinner. On our way home, our job is too decide what kind of food we want, how far we want to drive, and if we want to try something new or stick to somewhere we know is great. On a good day, we will both be thinking the same thing and it will take seconds to decide; but on a bad day, this process could take upwards of an hour. Recently it has been easy because we both have wanted the same thing; Mekong Grill in Ridgewood, NJ. When this spot first opened, we walked in unsure of what to expect, and since then it has been our favorite place to satisfy our Asian food cravings.

We have three appetizers that we like a lot; one being the Lemon Grass Beef Roll, another the Beef Satay, and of course the Chicken Vegetable Dumplings.  Dumplings are a life source in our relationship, we crave them, judge them harshly, and utterly enjoy them when they are as perfect as they are at Mekong. The sauce is light, but bold and layered with multiple flavors that go beyond the traditional dumpling sauce. The dumpling dough is almost see through, and steamed to perfection. They are filled to capacity with the fresh vegetable and chicken mixture. These are, in a word, heavenly, and we urge you all to go and indulge in these delicious dumplings. 
Pho was something that we both had not tried until last year. The pho at Mekong is a staple of the menu that delivers in flavor and is a dish that simply makes you feel good after eating it. The pho pictured below is a Hue Style Pho with spicy lemongrass beef broth. It is filled with huge portions of eye round beef, beef flank, Vietnamese pork roll, and shrimp dumplings. It may sound like an over cluttered dish in need of some refinement, but every flavor comes together and enhances the next. The accouterments of been sprout add texture, while the mint and lime add an overall freshness to the dish. If your a pho-newbie or a pho-niciado, you will love this dish!
We love Asian style noodle dishes and never shy away from trying a new one especially from a new style of cuisine. We tend to order the stir fried vegetarian thick rice noodles with tofu and mixed vegetables. This dish is delicious. The noodles were thick, so they pick up the sauce well. Also, there a lot of vegetables and they all keep their texture to give the dish depth. The tofu is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, while it takes on the delicate flavor of the sauce. We are not vegetarians, but do like tofu on occasion when its cooked well. But for those of you who do not, there is a non-vegetarian stir fried noodle dish as well, which is just as fantastic. 
For dessert we ordered banana crepes. The crepes are filled with banana, apple, and fried to a perfect crispiness. It is accompanied by vanilla ice ream. It is not too overpoweringly sweet for a dessert, it is perfect. We were told by the waiter if we are adventurous next time we should try the mochi. Since he was so helpful throughout the all of our visits, we will be taking his advice and trying it next time. 
Ridgewood has an array of restaurants to choose from, some good and some not-so-good, but Mekong Grill happens to be a great one. The food and service are both fabulous, plus the price is great. If you want to try a Vietnamese drink, there are quite a few options on the menu. If you want an alcoholic beverage with your meal, it is BYOB, but there is a liquor store conveniently right next door. We highly recommend checking out Mekong Grill. 

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