Miss Saigon was one of the many businesses that was displaced a while back when the University Shoppes strip mall at the corner of Alafaya Trail and University Boulevard was demolished to make way for some apartments. I mean, there was no helicopter involved in the evacuation, but it was a disruption nonetheless.
The apartment complex, which is now getting a facade to make it look as though it was built with something more substantial than the ticky-tacky-looking wood frame that was visible in the earlier phases of construction, will also feature some retail businesses, and perhaps even some restaurants. But none of the displaced businesses wanted to wait around that long. Some, like Mama Millie’s Caribbean and Anmol Indian, simply went out of business. Others, Lazy Moon Pizza, took the opportunity to move to better digs. Miss Saigon was one of the first to get out and get set up elsewhere.
Just a stone’s throw away, actually, across University Boulevard on a side street. As was the case with Lazy Moon, Miss Saigon was also able to find more space than it had before. The restaurant has a bar and large dining area in the entry room and a second dining room through a passageway next door. I’m sure there’s a reason that a Vietnamese restaurant features a large model of a galleon as part of its decor but I didn’t get the story.
On a recent lunch visit, I started with the golden pancake appetizer, which was really more of an omelet than a pancake, with shrimp and bean sprouts folded into it. It was light and qualified as an appropriate starter.
For my entree I chose pho tai nam, a beef soup with sliced rare beef (not rare for long as the hot broth finishes the cooking). It also had long rice noodles, bean sprouts and chopped scallions. What it didn’t have was a separate plate of add-ables — extra spouts, basil, jalapeno and lime wedges, such as are offered at most other pho restaurants in town. It was OK, the soup was fine without them, but I thought it strange. Soups, by the way, are available in two sizes: large and extra large. The large is plenty.
Service was brisk and businesslike. It made for a very quick lunch.
Miss Saigon is at 12058 Collegiate Way, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The website, which still features photos of the old location, which was vacated nearly two years ago, pushes online ordering and delivery yet oddly does not list the restaurant’s phone number anywhere. It is 407-306-0840.