Munch goes to Mekong in Dormont

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When friends, family and co-workers of Munch fail to provide Munch with leads on unreviewed restaurants, Munch does what anyone else would do. Munch scours the Internet to find hidden gems in the Pittsburgh area.

Father of Munch called in a tip about a place in Sharpsburg, but Munch promised not to review that establishment without him in tow, and Parents of Munch were busy in the days before Munch's strict deadline.

So Munch started weeding through Yelp and waited for something to jump out. Then, Munch spotted a Chinese restaurant called Mekong in the heart of Dormont on Potomac Avenue. Yelpers heaped praise on the few Vietnamese dishes on Mekong's menu, namely the pho.

Munch and Dear One of Munch decided to do a date night at Mekong. We grabbed a bottle of wine and headed to Dormont.

The small restaurant was totally empty when we arrived, and the waiter told us to sit wherever we liked. Munch asked for a bucket of ice for our white wine, apparently flustering the waiter a bit. He returned with a plastic bucket with a worn baking soda sticker on the front. DOOM noted that, with a television facing the dining room playing the local news, perhaps Mekong was mostly a takeout joint.

DOOM studied the paper place mats and was relieved to see that although our Chinese zodiac signs weren't a perfect match, we weren't incompatible.

"A sheep should never get together with an ox," DOOM mused. "That's murder-suicide territory."

Munch managed to tear DOOM's focus from the Chinese zodiac long enough to order. We each decided to start with a vegetable egg roll ($3 for two). DOOM, who has an inexplicable dislike of Chinese food, went with the Vietnamese noodles with tofu ($9.95). Munch figured it was only journalistically responsible to confirm the raves of the Yelpers and get the pho, but Munch subbed tofu for the standard beef ($10.95).

The egg rolls arrived with two diner-style plastic bottles -- the ones that usually contain ketchup and mustard. The yellow bottle did indeed contain mustard, but not the kind you'd find in a diner. It was an incredibly spicy mustard with a chemically, but not unpleasant, burning aftertaste.

"If you can get this kind of mustard with Chinese food, I'd be a much bigger fan of Chinese food," DOOM declared. Munch, an avid consumer of Chinese food, confirmed that it was spicier than the standard packets of spicy mustard in Chinese takeout.

The egg rolls were secured in a thick, crispy wrapper -- much more substantial than most egg rolls Munch has had.

Shortly after polishing off our egg rolls, our entrees arrived.

The Yelpers were right -- the pho was good. Munch patted Munchself on the back for getting tofu instead of beef, though.

The bean curd was perfectly prepared, somehow staying crispy even when submerged in the flavorful broth.

DOOM's dish wasn't as exciting, but the perfectly prepared tofu again made up for it. DOOM dunked the tofu in the spicy mustard, but noted that the mustard lost some of its punch after the first few bites.

"You just can't get that thrill back," DOOM said sadly.

After the success with Mekong's Vietnamese dishes, DOOM suggested we return soon to test the traditional Chinese fare. And with the bill coming in under 25 bucks, we could afford to eat here even when the boss isn't footing the bill.

munch

Munch: munch@post-gazette.com or on Twitter @PGMunch. Become a Facebook Friend of Munch at www.facebook.com/munchPG. First Published May 31, 2012 12:00 AM


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