January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants: Minh’s

The display of good taste isn't an empty promise: Minh's is as good as it looks.

THE SCENE. Situated in the ground floor of an office building, this Clarendon restaurant, which draws a mix of Vietnamese and Westerners, is surprisingly warm and inviting with white tablecloths, lacquered tables, and wine-color carpeting. The display of good taste isn't an empty promise: Minh's is as good as it looks.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The cooking, despite efforts to reach a broader, more upscale audience than is typically found at the Eden Center, is lively, bright, and fragrant. The service is similarly attentive to detail, generous, and unobtrusive. A frosty mug of Singha will set you back just $3.95.

WHAT YOU WON'T. Vegetarian dishes are surprisingly dull, seldom matching the brightness or liveliness of the others on the menu. Aside from pork and fish, meats are apt to be dry–a cautionary note about dishes that don't come blanketed in a sauce.

BEST DISHES. Sizzling catfish; yam-and-shrimp cakes as big and addictive as anything you'd find at a state fair; terrific grilled pork, juicy and full of smoky char, with slippery vermicelli noodles.

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