|Drip coffee with condensed sweet milk capped my New Year Eve's meal at Simply Vietnamese, still the only restaurant in Tenafly that is worth the detour.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
As we walked to our car on New Year's Eve in Tenafly, I looked around for dining options besides Simply Vietnamese, where we had just enjoyed a delicious dinner.
A block away, I saw an Asian Indian restaurant I knew nothing about.
Then, two deliverers came out of Mr. Wok, a second-floor Chinese restaurant that seems to have been open forever and now is called, Mr. Wok & Sushi.
I remember eating there once, never to return.
Down the block, a restaurant with an unusual fish-shaped window is probably the second or third to occupy the same space.
Years ago, when it was a spot for Korean-style Chinese food, I had lunch there, and saw a cockroach on the carpet.
One of the worse plates of hummus I ever had was served in a now-defunct spot in Tenafly, the pricey Hamsa.
For some strange reason, Tenafly has no appeal as a restaurant destination, despite all of its well-heeled residents.
There's far more variety and quality in neighboring Englewood, where Simply Vietnamese owner K.T. Tran operated Saigon R for many years before moving to a bigger space in Tenafly.
Maybe, there's something in the water.
And, perhaps, it's only a coincidence that nearly a decade ago, the publisher of northern New Jersey's major daily newspaper -- who lives in Tenafly -- folded the paper's award-winning Food section.
|A great start to our late-afternoon meal was sharing a Vietnamese Salad ($7.50), crunchy cabbage, cucumber and carrots crowned with fresh herbs and peanuts, all in a sweet chili dressing.|
|My wife doesn't eat them, so I had another appetizer to myself, Broiled New Zealand Mussels in a wasabi-ginger sauce ($9.50).|
|Pho, the Vietnamese soup with a distinctive, anise-flavored beef broth, also is available with a vegetarian broth. My wife chose Pho with Pork ($12), which is served with bean sprouts, fresh herbs and hot peppers, below.|
|Complimentary Shrimp Chips and a spicy chili dipping sauce.|
|Simply Vietnamese is a BYO.|
Simply Vietnamese, 1 Highwood Ave., Tenafly; 201-568-7770. BYO, free street parking. Call for holiday hours.
Web site: Fine Vietnamese Cuisine