No Loss for Great New Tastes

By Megan McDonald July 11, 2011

The steak bento box at Saigon Hibachi is a winner.


Forgive me, fellow Asian-food-loving friends, for not scooping this find earlier. I first noticed the sign for Saigon Hibachi many months ago over at the Publix shopping plaza off North Beneva.  Since I am a diehard fan of Pho Cali, I almost felt like I might be cheating if I tried something new. Ah, but Pho Cali on Main Street is closed on Sundays. So what’s a Jewish woman to do? At last, we ventured into Saigon Hibachi—good move.

Featuring both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine, the menu offers a variety of subtle dishes, including grilled pork bun, hibachi tofu and lemongrass-chili chicken. The udon noodle soup bowl with fried shallots and thinly sliced pork is a sure bet—light and flavorful with a slice of jalapeno on the side if you like a bit of heat. The steak bento box was delicious and bountiful, with amazingly tender Asian grilled beef with fried rice, mixed veggies, vegetable tempura and a spring roll.

Saigon Hibachi will set you back several more bucks than Pho Cali, and nothing holds true to PC’s No. 79, but I recommend you give Saigon Hibachi a try—we’ll be back.

Surprise Italian cuisine on Cattleman.

On the other end of the spectrum, let’s talk pizza and good old Italian food, like meatballs, Sunday sauce and pasta. Whoever would have guessed that Cattleman Cafe, across from the Stockyard, would be such a yummy find? With a new Sicilian chef at the helm, this tiny diner-style eatery really caught us by surprise. The thin-crust pizza was just like New York’s, and the meatballs with ricotta baked on top were sooo good.

Cattlemen Cafe's take on tried-and-true classics makes it a new regular stop for me!

They have everything here (well, almost)—from melt-in-your-mouth portabella mushroom paninis to real grinders, Nona’s lasagna, tuna melts, pressed Cubans and cheesesteak subs. It’s a working-class location that caters to year-round residents, and this year-rounder is going to make Cattleman Cafe a new regular stop. Oh, and if they have a pan of homemade fudgy brownies sitting at the counter, order one fast, they sell out in minutes and are the best I have ever had!

And talk about kid friendly—Bobbie Grochel told me when she went in last year with a group of 10 kids and one child wanted a different drink than the restaurant had on hand, the owner walked over to the convenience store and bought the flavor the child wanted.

Now that is hospitality!

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