11.21.2016

Eat the Guide: Mint Modern Bistro and Bar

Hello and welcome to the NOiG series Eat the Guide!  In this series, I explore the scores of restaurants included in the NOIG Guide to Vegan-Friendly Restaurants.  You can follow along in the guide or right here on the blog, or both of course.  See previous posts here, and enjoy!

Moving on down Freret, the past weekend took us to Mint Modern Bistro and Bar, a Vietnamese restaurant down on the Jefferson end of the street.  I'd been here once before and was thoroughly underwhelmed - particularly with their vegan pho option - but for the sake of Eat the Guide I braved it once again.  Here is what I found.

Appearance and Atmosphere: Mint wants to be modern-fancy, with caged chandeliers and a back-lit bar, but it doesn't quite come off.  It is dominated by hard surfaces and I don't find it very comfortable.  Its main audience seems to be young Tulane students.

Hours of Operation: Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9pm; Friday and Saturday 11am to 10pm; closed Mondays.

Service Style: Full table service.

Fried Tofu (left) and fresh avocado (right) spring rolls
Available Vegan Options: Options that are vegan as ordered include only the fried tofu spring rolls, the fresh avocado spring rolls, and the veggie pho.  Other options are the fried tofu baguette (leave off mayonnaise); the crispy tofu or lemongrass tofu vermicelli bowls (sub peanut sauce for the "house sauce," which contains fish sauce); and the sate veggies, lemongrass tofu, and tofu & tomato rice dishes (again subbing house sauce).

Alcohol or Espresso: A full bar is available, with specialty cocktails and a happy hour stretching from 3 to 6 pm most days.  A respectable tea selection is also available.

Lemongrass tofu vermicelli bowl
Price Range: On the plus side, everything here costs less than $10.  We had more food than we could eat between the two of us for about $23.  Spring rolls start at $4, baguettes at $5, vermicelli bowls and rice dishes are $7 to $8, and pho is $9.

My Experience:  As is probably evident at this point, I don't like this place too much.  They're catering to a much younger crowd that I suppose is less annoyed by the haphazard service and dubstep-pop music mixing with the noise coming from two giant televisions that hang over the bar.  I'm a crotchety old lady; I want unobtrusive music, no TVs, and servers who know how to prioritize tasks.

Fried tofu banh mi ("baguette"), sans mayo
We were seated relatively quickly because we decided not to bother waiting for a table and sat instead at the bar along the window.  We then waited for about 20 minutes for someone to take our order; our server had no idea what was vegan so I had to ask her to go find out (she did not offer).  I'm glad that I did; otherwise we would have had a quick meal of dry spring rolls and this post would be downright scathing instead of just grumpy.

Once we got the information we needed and could actually order, we received our food fairly quickly and I must say that it was delicious.  Perhaps that is what is most important?

Final Thoughts: Approach this place with patience and don't expect your server to be able to answer questions.  Go here maybe only when someone else is insisting on it or you're already right by it; otherwise go to Jazmine or Namese or Magasin or Pho Noi Viet or any of the other better run Vietnamese places with great vegan options.

1 comment:

  1. As a fellow crotchety old lady, I enjoyed this review! It's such a shame the staff weren't more clued up about the vegan options (or willing to offer to find out). At least the food was good and reasonably cheap, once you were actually able to order. The vermicelli bowl looks particularly good.

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