Patio dining at Ngon


by Jeremy Iggers | August 11, 2009 • Ngon Vietnamese Bistro on University Ave. in St. Paul is becoming one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants. The little storefront on the corner of University and Avon has first-rate renditions of a lot of the same staple rice and noodle dishes as many of the pho joints around town, but it also has a lot of amenities that you can’t find at any of the other noodle houses, including a bistro ambiance with original art on the walls, an enclosed patio with shady umbrellas, a great list of Minnesota microbrews on draft, and a big selection of organic wines from around the world.

Iggers Digest is the blog of Jeremy Iggers, the TC Media Alliance’s executive director. Jeremy is also the creator of TCFoodies, a local food networking site.

In addition to a basic selection of classic Vietnamese noodle soups and rice plates, all under $10, there is a second tier of more gastronomically ambitious dishes, such as Minnesota elk medallions with house made cilantro garlic pasta, shiitake mushrooms, in an anise sauce and tomato basil confit ($20), Thousand Hills short ribs braised in pho spices with wasabi potatoes, grape tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, a green beans with five spice sauce ($19), and house made sweet potato and scallion stuffed ravioli, grape tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, and almonds in a curry butternut squash sauce ($15).

The restaurant buys locally grown, sustainably produced foods in season, including beef from Thousand Hills, and poultry from Wild Acres. And some of the produce is about as local as you can get – the back patio is lined with a container garden growing tomatoes, kale and fresh herbs.

Ngon, 799 University Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-3301.

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