Now let me begin by saying, I am not a food critic. The purpose of my writing this blog is not to analyze the quality of the food or to rate my overall experience by a star system. To each his own, I will make no judgements. My purpose in writing this for all of you is to explain in fine detail the experience I had at Cafe Minh, a hidden gem located at the corner of 4139 Canal and David Street, and to apply that experience to a better understanding of why this restaurant is part of the “restaurant row”.
My house is located along Esplanade by the Bayou St.John, which makes the restaurant row a convenient and economically comfortable place to go for food. Within five minutes I can bike myself to an array of different ethnic food types, whether I’m looking for a hearty meal, a cold beer or an ice cream cone. At least once a week I’ll head over to Carrollton and check out my options, attempting to get something new every time (although I have my favorite go-to’s). Even as a frequent visitor to the “row”, I had never noticed Cafe Minh. When it came up as a restaurant within our project, I was surprised and excited to have a chance to check out yet another exotic food place a few minutes from home.
I showed up outside of Cafe Minh on a sunny Wednesday afternoon with my research partner, Alahna, knowing nothing more about it then it’s name and the fact that it is a Vietnamese-French-Creole fusion restaurant brought to the public by Chef Cynthia. The outside decor is quiet, modest and easy to pass by without a backward glance. As we made our way to the entrance, people passed by walking their dogs and their children creating a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. I was expecting the restaurant to be neighborhood friendly and casual, like it’s surroundings but when we walked in, we entered a different world. The entire restaurant was bright, white and safe. As elevator jazz played softly in the background, a fancy, friendly waiter came over to seat us. He brought us to our table, pulled out our seats and asked in a refined voice whether or not we’d like a drink and if there was anything more he could do for us. The other patrons and the decor alike were simple and elegant. There were white table cloths and fresh cut flowers on every table.
The menu offered a variety of delicious sounding dishes, and plenty of soups. The prices of the food were higher than most restaurants in our area, but given the decor and attitude inside of the restaurant that was to be expected. I went ahead and ordered the roast duck soup while Alahna got a big bowl of Jasmine rice. We were both satisfied with our meals, and due to the incredibly generous portions, I had enough soup to bring home with me.
Overall, Cafe Minh is a tasty, classy experience and the perfect place to go on a date or business meeting. Although it is different from the other restaurants along the row in price and decor, I believe it has its place there. It is set in an incredibly convenient location along Canal and keeps with the run-down modest appearance of most other businesses around it all the while offering something a bit out of the ordinary to the people of that neighborhood. It adds to the eclecticism of the restaurant row, giving everyone just one more reason to head over to the “restaurant row” when looking for a good place to eat.