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Little Saigon; Dena's

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Like most Vietnamese restaurants that I have eaten in, the menu at is extensive, with dozens of choices, but it's well-organized for those with a difficulty in making up their minds. If you have experience with Vietnamese food, you'll find the popular favorites. A bowl of steaming noodle soup on a cold winter night can nourish the spirit as well as the body. These soups, eaten by the Vietnamese at any meal, are a filling main dish at lunch or dinner. A bowl of noodle soup with chicken ($6.95) had lots of tender chunks of white meat and a flavorful broth (marred by a heavy hand with the salt). An accompanying platter of fresh vegetables and herbs allows the diner to add as much freshness as he cares. Several different noodles mix with seafood, chicken or beef for soups representing different areas of Vietnam. Stir-fried dishes ($7.95-$12.95) with vegetables, meat and/or seafood, served with rice, are close kin to other Asian dishes using this method. I liked a special with beef, mushrooms and broccoli that had a pleasantly spicy sauce. Seafood and fish preparations, as in most restaurants, are among the most expensive at Little Saigon ($10.95-$14.95), but even at that, they are not a bad value. You certainly won't go home hungry. Probably many in the Midlothian area know already about Little Saigon. For those who don't, there are two reasons to put it on your short list - location and value. And, oh yes, those good noodle soups. — Davis Morton When you go to a certain kind of restaurant, you're willing to forgive almost anything: slights in service, unforeseen delays for a table. The food, after all, is worth it. And that's what you're there for. At , on Midlothian Turnpike across from Chesterfield Towne Center, our service was good and the 30-minute wait understandable — the place was slammed. But the thing we couldn't figure out was why so many people would wait so long in line. What's more, it seems that a wait is not unusual. According to one patron who stood in the air-lock foyer along with us, "Sometimes it's like this. But it's worth it." Well, I guess it depends on what you're after. My wife and I were after some sort of exceptional food experience that would explain the situation. What we got was diner food with Greek and Italian accents. All in all, it was a lot of food, and it was OK, but we still couldn't figure out why everybody was there. And then it came: the bill. Our whole dinner cost only $49, and that goes a long way toward explaining why the place is so popular with the ice-tea-or-lemonade-with-dinner crowd, and with folks who object to the often exorbitant cost of a dinner out. In this case, the old adage holds: You get what you pay for. — Noel Patrick

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