This week's Gambit finds resident food scribe Ian McNulty back on Magazine Street to review Uptown's newest Vietnamese restaurant, Magasin Café. Though some of Magasin's more traditional Vietnamese dishes may not win over the most discerning of pho foodies, McNulty gives the cafe high marks for its sleek, "Apple product" interior, its reasonable prices, and for the inventiveness of its "unconventional" banh mi.
Magasin joined a short list of Uptown Vietnamese restaurants when it opened in a formerly run-down grocery store on Magazine in February, and it's already drawing big crowds, a fact that, in McNulty's estimation, proves especially conducive to eavesdropping. He notes that while Magasin's dishes are aesthetically pleasing and forgivingly priced, its pho "lacks the robust, cooked-all-day intensity and smooth but substantial viscosity of the best pho." He reserves his praise for some of Magasin's noodle-shop innovations, such as its savory, omelet-like crepes and its banh mi, made on "crusty baguettes" from La Boulangerie. Though McNulty isn't quite sure that this twist makes for a more delicious banh mi, he explains that such innovations are helping set Magasin apart from the rest of the city's Vietnamese foodscape.
[Photo: The Hungry Nomad]