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.
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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.
"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.)