In a previous post about Poughkeepsie restaurants, I mentioned that I felt that the Vietnamese restaurants here in Albany are a lot better. I just noticed that someone asked me to elaborate. There are two restaurants I had in mind. My Linh is at 272 Delaware Ave., two doors down from the Spectrum 7 Theater, in the building that formerly held Thacher's Restaurant. My Linh had a previous location on lower Madison Avenue, but that closed some time before the new location opened, and I was never at the old location. Anyway, I have been very favorably impressed with all of my meals at My Linh. The menu (available online, see below) is not extensive. Their duck dish (Vit Rut Kuong) is their signature dish. It is a boneless half duck, marinated in lemongrass, garlic and wine, pan fried, and finished with nuoc mam. I also particularly enjoy the Banh Tam Do Blen, which is shrimp and scallops cooked in a light coconut milk blended with nuoc mam, and served over pasta. The crabmeat and asparagus soup is also very good.
The other restaurant is Van's, which is located in My Linh's original location on lower Madison Ave, in the block above South Pearl St. I recently went there for the first time, and had crispy whole flounder. I felt that the food was on the same par as My Linh's, and the prices were somewhat lower. The service and atmosphere are slightly less formal than at My Linh, but attentive and quick.
Both of these places have really impressed me much more than any other restaurants around here, and I highly recommend them.