Restaurant: Minh Hai
Location: 1096 Park Ave. Cranston, RI 02920
Price: Fairly cheap
Would I eat there again? Yes
Let it be known- I am a sucker for Asian cuisine. Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Malaysian... I love it. The vibrancy, range of ingredients, and bold flavors light up my taste buds and make me smile.
Minh Hai is a small Vietnamese restaurant on Park Avenue in Cranston that packs a pretty great punch. My last review (Tina's) talked about how great it was to have the namesake/owners present and involved in the dining experience, and once again we were waited on and served by the owners! The personal attention and care that most owners put into their service and restaurant cannot be beat. In fact- if you look at failed restaurants, the point where things start going south is often tied to when the owners step away from the business. It takes passion to survive in the food service industry. If you rely on employees to provide all the energy, your days are probably pretty limited.
Service was very friendly and polite, if a bit slow. We were one of only four parties, but with what a total of 3 staff to wait, bus, and cook you have to be a little patient. The wait was aided by the drinks policy, which is both BYOB and has a basic in-house wine and beer list. We took advantage of a dinner special they are currently running- $20.09 for two entrees and an appetizer (available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday lunch). Most entrees run about $10, so this gets you a free appetizer (we chose excellent and attractive shrimp rolls- Goi Coun) (B on the menu). Decor is simple and the lighting is a bit bright- pretty much par for the course.
We dined on tofu with eggplant and onions in a spicy plum sauce (#67 on the menu) and marinated pork with imperial rolls (think fried egg roll) over rice and salad (#26). The tofu was great- spicy, slightly sweet, with satisfying chunks of lightly sautéed onions. The pork was sliced very thin, marinated and then grilled, creating an amazingly tender and well-seasoned entree that went perfectly with the rice (providing body to the dish) and imperial rolls (indulgent fried pleasure). A small, simple salad cleared the palate, bringing a well-rounded completeness to the dish.
Minh Hai serves excellent, authentic Vietnamese cuisine. You may not be pampered, but you will get great food prepared by folks who know what they are doing, and that is plenty for me!