WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Kim Son was the city’s first successful Vietnamese restaurant, and still one of its best. It offers a much broader menu than most other local Vietnamese places, and the inclusion of a great many familiar, fall-back Chinese dishes makes this a good place for a person to try this exciting Southeast Asian cuisine for the first time. The prices make eating here one of the great bargains in the entire area.
Kim Son cooks with a heavy use of fresh herbs, homemade broths, and grilled meats–all hallmarks of Vietnamese cooking. Some of the best dishes involve charcoal-grilling, claypot-braising, and salt-baking. The latter has become a house specialty, dealing with everything from local hard crabs to lobster. They also have some unexpectedly wonderful noodle and vegetarian dishes. The beef dinner is a classic, the meat served in over a half-dozen ways.
The city’s longest-running Vietnamese restaurant opened in the 1980s. When Vietnamese families were resettled here in the 1970s, their first restaurants uncovered the fact that nobody here understood their food. To make a living, they started cooking Chinese, which is why to this day about half the menu at Kim Son is distinctly Chinese.
A large room with the usual Asian kitsch. An alarmingly big fish levitates in an aquarium. Men should check out an amazing apparatus in the restroom.
The whole menu is far too extensive to reproduce here. Below are recommended dishes. The entire menu can be seen here.
»Vietnamese hot and sour fish soup
»Charcoal-broiled beef and cold noodles
»Salt-baked Maine lobster
»Fish cooked in clay pot
»Steamed whole fish
»Claypot chicken curry with coconut
»Beef fondued in boiled vinegar
»Eggplant and bean cake in claypot
FOR BEST RESULTS
If you automatically order pho and nothing else in Vietnamese restaurants, you will miss the point of this one. Sample much wider range of this menu. Make sure you stay away from the Chinese food, which is not bad but not as good as the Vietnamese dishes.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The service style is a shade brusque, but they mean nothing by it. Laugh with them and they’ll laugh with you.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency +2
- Value +3
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color
- Open all afternoon
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking