I was kind of surprised to see that there must be a substantial Vietnamese community in Atlantic City. While trying to find the White House Sub Shop we passed a pho joint and a bodega with a permanent sign advertising Spanish groceries and a hand written one proclaiming Vietnamese foodstuffs too. We ended up parking in front of place that looked more like a house than a restaurant with a window proclaiming Vietnamese hoagies.
So after getting our fill of American food during our first day and a half in town, I was thankful to have another country's cuisine to turn to (well, there was also El Coqui Café, which amused me–there's not escaping that Puerto Rican frog). We passed a corner place called Little Saigon and decided to stop in.
I gathered that this restaurant is a local favorite based upon the numerous awards and write ups posted on the wall. It seemed like someplace that takes pride in its food. The clientele was predominantly Caucasian, which didn't turn me off as that is the general make up of the city. The presentations and garnishes had more flourish than your typical pho shop, and forks were given as a default, but I wouldn't say that the welcoming staff was pandering and it certainly wasn't haute or fusion food.
Originally, I wanted a simple bowl of beef noodle soup, but got swayed by the $7.95 lunch special which included spring rolls, grilled meat atop rice vermicelli and a choice of ice tea or homemade lemonade. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo of my pork noodles. My only complaint would be that the edges of the meat had been charred slightly too much. The burnt tips gave a bitter taste to the one-bowl meal, but by no means ruined it. The spring rolls were as crisp and tasty as I'd hoped for–I swear, Vietnamese are masters of the spring roll. And the crazy sweet lemonade quelled my desire for an icy, neon hued, gelatinous dessert.
Little Saigon * 2801 Artic Ave., Atlantic City, NJ