Jfood was in the mood for some Vietnamese food last night and decided to head to SP for another round at Ngon Bistro. Traffic on 35W was a bear and he remembered there was a place, Jasmine 26, closer off Eat Street so he reprogrammed the Garmin and off he went.
After a simple parking job, he entered and was very impressed with the inside. It was very pretty. Again it was very empty (the fair must be packed) and the server was also lamenting about the number of patrons. He offered Jfood a 4-top at the window and Jfood settled in for the evening with his book and the menu. The server was very helpful in guiding Jfood through many of his favorites and Jfood decided on app, noodle and main. The menu has lots of good choices and with no hurry this evening Jfood spent some time (the server was also excellent in offering many, probably too many , of his favorites) and finally decided on the Spring Rolls with Shrimp, the Chicken Pad Thai and the Red Peanut Curry with Roasted Duck.
The spring rolls arrived, displayed like a sushi roll in eight pieces vertically aligned. Accompanying the roll was a peanut sauce with crumbled peanuts atop. Microscopic pieces of shrimp were included. The first thing that Jfood noticed as he pulled at his first piece was just that, he pulled at it. The roll was stuck together like crazy glue was applied (he noticed another table have the same issue). It gave the impression that it was made the day before. Jfood took his first bite and continued through the dish. The flavors were inconsistent, some pieces had heat, others did not have any flavor whatsoever, and the wrapper was like eating overcooked pasta, incredibly bland and mushy. This dish did not excite Jfood. He almost left half.
The Pad Thai and Curry arrived simultaneously. The PT was on a dish and the Duck was in a covered casserole.
The PT was interesting with the peanuts all sprinkled on one side versus on top. No biggie, Jfood took his spoon and relocated the peanuts. He took his first bite and again was very disappointed with the flavor, or should he say lack of flavor. The dish was extremely bland. Once he located some of the chicken and tasted it, the disappointment grew. Not only was there no flavor, but also the texture was like overcooked and possibly cooked the day before or way early in the morning. As he worked his way through the dish, he finally declared “uncle” and pushed it aside, not worth the calories.
As he moved to the Duck he was excited since the smells were outstanding. His first bite was one of the sweet potatoes. Again the potatoes were way overcooked and mushy, falling apart on the chopsticks. OK let’s try the duck. Once located Jfood tasted the duck and this too was extremely overcooked. Chopsticks were not the way to go with this dish to get a full feel for the flavors, so Jfood grabbed a spoon and tried it. He grabbed a little duck with a little pepper and tasted. OK, now the flavors were at least working together, not bad, but they could not undo the overcooked nature of the duck and potato. Jfood left about half this dish as well, also not to his liking.
Jfood is not sure whether the restaurant was suffering from a lack of people due to the Fair or whether this was there best food forward. When he compares this to Ngon Bistro or Little Thai Kitchen, it is a tough putt to say that Jasmine 26 is in the same league.