To help prepare our palates for the lighter fare of summer, the Family Chow decided to take a trip to Vietnam – the land of lemongrass, mint and basil. We ended up choosing Saigon Spring restaurant on Route 9 in Halfmoon. After experiencing many delicious eateries in out-of-the-way places, we were willing to overlook Saigon Spring’s boring strip mall location. Inside, we found a bustling, open space with minimal decor and soothing blue-grey walls. We arrived on a midweek night for dinner, without a reservation, but waited only a few minutes for a comfortable booth.
1683 Route 9, Halfmoon
• Food – 4.5 C’s (out of 5)
• Service – 4.5 C’s
• Family friendliness – 4 C’s
Our server, Hui, greeted us warmly and quickly brought menus and water. In addition to the savory menu, we enjoyed perusing the expansive drink menu that included several fun-sounding cocktails (with apropos ingredients like lychee and ginger), beers and wines with helpful descriptions and several kinds of tea. The kids couldn’t resist trying the avocado milkshake, and Mom ordered a pot of Lychee black tea. For appetizers, we settled on an order of summer rolls and boneless wings.
The menu is helpfully arranged by protein – with several options in each category. There are nine different soup options and a half dozen rice noodle dishes. While we were deciding on our main courses, Hui delivered our drinks and appetizers. Daughter was first to try the avocado milkshake and pronounced it “confusing.” Son took a sip and enjoyed the subtle avocado flavor and creamy, fluffy texture that we were told took a special technique in order to get just right. Mom loved her wonderfully aromatic Lychee tea that needed no sweetening. We took a moment to admire the beauty of the summer rolls as they arrived – pink shrimp peaking through delicate, translucent rice paper wrappers. They tasted as fresh as they looked with perfectly cooked shrimp mixing with bean sprouts, lettuce, mint and noodles, enhanced by a delicious peanut dipping sauce. Son gravitated toward the boneless wings that he described as “a meatball on a stick.” The crispy skin of the wing covered a flavorful crabmeat and shrimp stuffing. One part of the wing was left to serve as a handle for dipping into the sweet nuoc cham sauce.