By John Stone
As the warmer weather arrives, there is one dish (or combination of dishes) that leaps to the top of the list for my wife and me: Saiguette’s Bun noodle with grilled chicken together with steamed “moon” dumplings (shrimp filling). The menu lists the bun thus: “Room temperature rice vermicelli w. julienne cucumber, lettuce, bean sprout, scallion oil, crush peanut, fresh herbs, nuoc cham sauce” and while there are quite a few choices of accompaniment, we always go with the chicken, which is grilled to perfection: tender, juicy, slightly crispy but ever succulent.
There’s something magical about the subtle, sweet and savory flavor of the whole dish that doesn’t call attention to itself with loud spices or extremes of any kind: each bite is so pleasant, and it’s largely the subtlety – the way the wholesome ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves – that make this room-temperature wonder a perfect antidote to any heat and humidity the city might throw at you.
The dumplings complement everything with their own lightness and airiness: in this case, their hotter temperature provides your tastebuds with a needed jolt. The quality is extremely consistent (we order these dishes once a week without fail) and extremely high. The fair cost and generous portions (just one of each dish mentioned here is plenty for the two of us) make this an even more toothsome and welcome bargain. As another reader (reviewing the flank steak banh mi) wrote back in September of 2021, it is so good to have Saiguette back in operation after their very long pandemic hiatus. Well, that’s an understatement on my part: it is an absolute blessing to have this local treasure serving again.
The Dish(es): Bun noodle with grilled chicken; side of shrimp dumplings
Lo and behold, John Stone has resurrected Here’s the Dish, an occasional column, featuring a reader’s favorite dish, served in a local restaurant. It’s good for the restaurant and for other readers. Send your favorite UWS dish to email@example.com. Don’t forget to include a photograph of the dish.