The An family lost everything, except each other. Descendants of Vietnamese royalty, they had enjoyed generations of privilege, distinguished positions in government and high society, and unparalleled wealth. Family matriarch and entrepreneur Diana An fell in love with San Francisco’s liberal spirit when visiting in 1971, and on a whim, bought a 20-seat Italian deli in Outer Sunset, before returning to Vietnam.
Sometimes I go to a new restaurant and my blink instinct tells me that this one is going to do just fine, even in the dog-eat-dog restaurant world of San Francisco. Restaurants like this often are cheerful, with a gregarious owner at the helm. There's no sense of self-importance, the price point is right, and everything's tasty. It doesn't take the skills of Corey Lee to have a slam dunk.
Make no mistake—Miss Saigon isn’t going to revolutionize the dodgy block on which it sits (at the corner of Sixth and Mission streets). It is, however, a good place to get lunch if you’re tired of the options at the Westfield SF Centre. The utilitarian, but spic-and-span, dining room is run by an efficient workforce that bustles about, delivering Vietnamese coffee and fussing (in a good way) over the guests. Menuwise, it’s the usual suspects: We have no complaints about fried squid with scallions and garlic (#14) or the delicate threads of green papaya in the classic salad named after it (get #9, shown here, the version with shrimp and pork). Linger too long and you’ll be subjected to a viewing of violinist André Rieu’s DVD of love songs, shown on three televisions.