Saigon Jon’s: Fast casual cuisine
Spritely crunch, house grown cilantro and charbroiled lemongrass shrimp make Saigon Jon's banh mi subs a must try.
Saigon Jon's Vietnamese Kitchen Address: 2696 Pembina Highway Phone Number: 204-275-2150 Website: www.saigonjons.com Neighbourhood: Fort Richmond
There's fresh, and then there's FRESH.
Saigon Jon's Vietnamese Kitchen falls into the latter category.
That's readily apparent as soon as you spot the cilantro garden inside the kitchen's Urban Cultivator
That's the fancy name for the double-wide, fridge-sized hydroponic herb grower that provides Saigon Jon's with a fresh supply of the popular herb to use in its banh mi subs, noodle bowls, salads and rice bowls.
“Right now, we're growing more than we need,” says the restaurant's co-owner Johnny Kien.
Fresh cilantro is just one of the many charms found inside this new fast-casual Vietnamese eatery in a south Winnipeg strip mall or ‘lifestyle centre,' as they're now called.
Natural light streams through the front windows at Saigon Jon's. The decor is modern and minimalist inside this polished yet casual restaurant. An open kitchen with a countertop dining bar lends itself to conversations with the cooks.
For Vietnamese cuisine neophytes, Saigon Jon's has a very approachable, accessible and modern menu. At Saigon Jon's, ordering is a two-step process. Diners choose one of four base meals: a traditional Vietnamese banh mi sub; a vermicelli noodle bowl; a rice bowl; or a salad. Diners fill their bowl, bun or plate with one of about 10 meat and veggie options including hot honey hoisin chicken, lemongrass steak, charbroiled pork, roasted chicken peanut patty.
Kien says they are still tinkering with the menu, which is made up of family recipes from his aunts.
We polished off a 12”, charbroiled lemongrass shrimp banh mi sub on a French white crusty roll with cilantro lime mayo. The aforementioned fresh cilantro spiked every bite of this fresh, simple and fantastic sandwich which was also loaded with spritely pickled diakon and carrot slaw, cucumber chunks, pickled red onion and jalepeno.
Diners choose between 6” and 12” rolls on white or multigrain. They also have a choice of four mayo/aiolis.
Located in Fort Richmond in Winnipeg's far south, Kien hopes to capitalize on the crowds from the new Blue Bombers stadium and the nearby University of Manitoba.
He must be doing something right because Saigon Jon's second location is expected to open July 2013 in Seasons of Tuxedo, a massive shopping development at Kenaston Boulevard and Sterling Lyon Parkway that also includes IKEA. Construction on the new location will begin in April 2013.