Even though I spent five years at Rice getting my graduate degree, I didn't visit Miss Saigon Cafe in the Village until long after I had finished my studies. I think I subconsciously avoided the restaurant because Miss Saigon is the Broadway musical I love to hate. Or actually, mostly hate. (That helicopter scene? Yikes.)
However, because I've been spending more time than I usually do in Rice Village lately, I finally ambled over to Miss Saigon Cafe for some takeout supper one day after a rather intense afternoon of composing elegant scholarly prose
watching YouTube cat videos at Salento.
I was and am sort of sick of pho. (There -- I said it! Who's with me?!?) I was more interested in trying one of Miss Saigon's rice and protein dishes. From this admittedly rather broad category of dishes, I was actually able to whittle down my choices to either the caramelized ginger chicken or the stuffed tofu. I ultimately decided on the latter because, while I have mastered making many poultry entrées, I am not so skilled at stuffing tofu.
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I considered, and was certainly hungry enough for, an appetizer, but the price of the stuffed tofu ($18) by itself was a bit difficult to swallow. I guess Rice Village really is becoming the new River Oaks.
Despite the fact that the interior of Miss Saigon Cafe in no way resembles the set of the musical (it's filled with lovely paintings), songs from its soundtrack -- specifically, the most insipid bits -- started playing in my head. Thankfully, I was soon distracted from the music in my mind by an employee's cheerful greeting.
With the stuffed tofu, you have your choice of fillings: "egg roll" (crab, chicken, pork, shrimp) and vegetable. I forgot to specify, but was given the former, which was fine by me. The more than ample portion comprises two large tofu triangles, stuffed, lightly pan-fried, and dressed in a mushroom, tomato and red pepper sauce. Upon opening the tightly packed takeout container, a pleasant aroma of garlic and onions was released, further whetting my appetite for what proved to be a wonderful dish. The meat stuffing transformed the tofu, soft and supple, into a heartier protein entrée and the fragrant gravy provided additional dimensions of flavor, as well as a touch of heat.
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"Blah, blah, blah," I hear you say. "Was it worth nearly $20?"
Dah...no. But given escalating real estate values in Rice Village, I understand why Miss Saigon may need to inflate its prices. That just means they won't be on my regular rotation. (Even though I really do appreciate that they styled my rice even for takeaway.)