Food Review: Saiwok Vietnamese Street Food in Rogers, AR

All of the ratings online for this place were amazing. It is the #1 restaurant on Yelp in Rogers now. So, I had to check it out. Here’s the breakdown:

ENVIRONMENT

Located in a new shopping center, this place looks like every other business here.

When you walk in, you grab a menu or read it on screen. You order up front, take a number, then find a seat.
There is a bar area with t.v.s to watch or plenty of wooden stools and tables to enjoy.

Overall, it is very modern. Each wall is unique with different modern wallpaper. A large “Saiwok” sign is lit up on one wall. It is very fun.

Where you get your own drinks, you can also pick up sriracha, hoisin, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and sugar or sugar substitutes.

MENU

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Saiwok/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1844062562490958

Their menu can be found on their Facebook page, linked above. However, this menu is a little outdated. The cucumber salad is missing.
Overall, there are a lot of options: fun appetizers such as fried brussel sprouts or street corn, banh mi sandwiches, baos, bowls, soups, salads, and even desserts.

FOOD

Cucumber Salad, $9
Description: Cucumber cubes, heirloom tomatoes, wafu dressing

We started with this beautiful cucumber salad. One of the best veggie dishes I’ve ever tasted was a cucumber salad in Chinatown in NYC. So, I expected flavors of heat, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.
While this was gorgeous, the flavor was lacking. Their “wafu dressing” is tasty, but there’s no heat. There’s not much salt either. So, I added some soy and sriracha and that made it enjoyable.

House Salad, $6 or $2 to add on to a meal
Description: Mixed greens, cucumber ribbons, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, ginger sesame dressing

We also got our add-on house salad for $2 before our entrees, which I requested. This salad was as tasty as it looked. And it was beautiful! Ribbons of carrots and cucumber, heirloom tomatoes, perfect greens. The dressing was just the right amount and very flavorfully sweet. Loved it!

Saiwok Bowl with Grilled Lemongrass Pork, $9.95
Description: Choose your meat, choose your base, add any additional items. All bowls come with pickled veggies, tomato, cucumber, scallion oil, and chili lime vinaigrette.

Our first entree (I make Drew share everything we get so I can taste it all) was the Saiwok bowl. I choose the grilled lemongrass pork, which was amazing! It was large, tender, so flavorful, and juicy. We put it on top of greens, which may have been a mistake as we just ate two salads already. Rice may have been a more satisfying choice. And I topped it off with an over easy egg.
The egg was perfect! The veggies were perfect. I couldn’t tell there was any scallion oil, it was very dry. So, I used the entire small side of chili lime vinaigrette. After it is all mixed up, it was very tasty.
My only issue was there were no knives to cut the pork into smaller pieces. The pork pieces were about 3 bites each, so I ended holding a piece of pork in my hand and taking a bite with every forkful….it didn’t look very graceful.

Pho Au Jus Banh Mi, $9
Description: Sliced brisket, pho broth, hoisin sauce, sriracha, with shrimp chips. All banh mis come with two small ones.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. I was weary of these banh mis, as they look very bread-heavy. However, I was mistaken. The bread is perfect. The inside is so soft, it is hardly there, just enough to keep your juices in….well, mostly.

This little baby was so flavorful and juicy. I loved every bite. I didn’t even need to dunk it into the pho broth on the side. It was one of the best banh mis I have had…and I’ve had MANY.

The pho broth was delicious on its own, I would definitely suggest trying it!

The problem came with the shrimp chips. I LOVE shrimp chips. I buy them by the bags when I can find them at Asian grocery stores. These, however, were horribly stale and had no flavor. They were left un-eaten.

OVERALL

This is definitely a place to try while in Rogers. It is fun and casual, and can make quite the tasty, healthy meal if you order right…..or it can be as carb-filled and fried as you please. So, really, it’s the perfect place for a group that has varying dietary wants.

While the service is almost missing, you aren’t going to be treated as if you are at a 5 star restaurant. But that’s ok. In fact, I kind of enjoy that. Get what you want, take care of yourself, you’re an adult.

You MUST try the banh mis. Add on the $2 house salad.
Let me know any other must-tries for my next visit.

Food Review: Oliver’s Bistro in Mountain View

We spend a lot of time in Mountain View, but hardly eat out because there’s pretty much one theme: Southern cooking. However, the owners of Skylark Cafe in Leslie have recently opened up Oliver’s Bistro (named after their son) in the Iron Works building downtown. Now I have a go-to place to eat in Mountain View! Here’s the breakdown:

ENVIRONMENT

While Oliver’s Bistro is an easy to find/ walk to location downtown, that also means that it is busy…constantly.¬† The first attempt to eat here was a Saturday at 1:30, and the small restaurant was full, with most people waiting on food. So, I had to wait until the following Tuesday to try my luck again. I got the last seat at 2:00. I’m not sure there’s ever a time this place isn’t busy during its hours of 11-4?

The interior is absolutely adorable. With blue wooden floors, plants in the windows, cute pillows and modern furniture and light fixtures, it is so cute!

MENU

You can find the menu on their Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/oliversbistroMV/menu/

While it is small, it has so many delicious options, it was hard for me to decide….so I had to come back a couple more times this week. =)
There are some appetizers, such as delicious sounding truffle pomes frites or a bruschetta skillet. There are 6 different entree salads. There are 8 different sandwich options, which come with a choice of one of 6 sides. There are also 3 brick oven pizza options, which seem to be popular. Finally, there are also daily desserts posted on a chalk board, as well as other daily soup and pizza specials.

FOOD

House Salad, $6, with added chicken $3
Description: Mixed greens, roma tomato, crimini mushrooms, red onion ,and parmesan cheese, local honey balsamic vinaigrette

The picture does not do this salad justice. It was very large! All the veggies were cut into perfect bite sizes. The homemade vinaigrette was sweet and delicious! There was plenty of it as well, as I used my grilled baguette to sop it up in the end. The added chicken was cooked perfectly, very juicy and flavorful. I loved it.

Mediterranean Salad, $8, with added chicken $3
Description: Mixed Greens, roma tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, red onion, pepproncinis, kalamata olives, roasted chickpeas, Greek vinaigrette.

This salad was set up for failure following the House Salad, so it was a little disappointing….though still delicious. My main issue was the vegetables were not chopped into bite size pieces like the house salad and there was not as much dressing. However, it was still very tasty and enjoyable.

Roast Beef Sandwich with Veggie Slaw, $11.50
Description: Thin sliced roast beef with cheddar, red onion, mixed greens, roma tomato, radish, and garlic aioli on grilled brioche bun.

This sandwich was SO good! I couldn’t put it down, just rapidly ate it. The garlic aoili was plentiful, garlic-y, and delicious! The roast beef was tender and juicy. The brioche bun was perfect….it held together without being too much bread that it took away from the sandwich. The only issue was the enormous stack of red onion and tomato that made this sandwich about 6 inches tall. I had to remove them just to get my mouth around it. But hey, if my complain is there is TOO much on a sandwich, is that really a complaint? Nah!
The veggie slaw had cranberries and local honey and was pretty tasty. It surprisingly had a kick of heat, and I didn’t really taste any honey. However, I love a healthy, unique slaw, and this was definitely one of those.

OVERALL

The service here is very good. Everyone is super nice and make you feel right at home (even if you stink from hiking for hours and have a hole in your tights…woops) I will definitely be coming in for lunches any chance I can while in Mountain View, ready to try more of the menu!