Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Banh Mi So #1/Saigon Gourmet

Black or white, hoosier or epicure, any soulful mortal's stomach swells with the same satisfied feeling after a meal at Banh Mi So #1: "Mmmmmm! Home cookin'!" Maybe it's the Vietnamese eatery's brilliant neon sign, a beacon of comfort on a dark strip of South Grand. Or the momentary difficulty of locating a menu once inside the itty-bitty dining room. Maybe it's the sound of husband-and-wife co-owners Lynne and Thomas Truong chattering as they snip cilantro in their tiny kitchen. Maybe it's the fact that the yummy com thit ga nuong (charbroiled chicken with lemon grass) doesn't appear four minutes and thirty-eight seconds after being ordered (like it does in so many ethnic eateries, where frozen, ready-made foodstuffs are the rule). It takes time for the Truongs to craft their family-style cuisine. And from diners, a leisurely mindset to savor it. (Don't plan on getting in and out in less than 45 minutes, unless you're ordering a Vietnamese sandwich.) "Greens not good in St. Louis, all rotten usually," notes Thomas. "We go to the airport and fly them in from Houston, California, some other places." No kidding! One would have thought the vegetables were plucked from the backyard garden.
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