Stellar Vietnamese on the heart of Olive Boulevard.
Kim Son is some of the best Vietnamese food I've had not just in St. Louis, but including New York and Boston. While it may be a surprise to many that St. Louis has Vietnamese food better than these much larger cities, St. Louis is home to a big, thriving Vietnamese immigrant population. In fact, St. Louis is a refugee city, where refugees from many countries, such as Bosnia & Vietnam, are settled when they come to the US. The benefit of that for St. Louisans is that the city as a competitive community of Vietnamese eateries without rival in the US.
Not to criticize other reviewers, but I think one might be disappointed with Kim Son only if she did not know the right dishes to order. Kim Son has gone through several different name changes (Vietnam Star, Vietnam Bistro, etc), owners and menus, but the food remains impeccable. Some dishes have not carried over from menu to menu, yet they are still available if you know what to ask for. This includes the fish in house sauce, a whole fish (sometimes sea bass, sometimes tilapia, you can choose) lightly fried in a delectable, sweet sauce.
The fish is indicative of the seafood in general. Kim Son is one of the few not fancy restaurants in St. Louis I'd feel comfortable ordering any type of seafood, as you can see all the fish they have alive in their tanks. All of the seafood is very good, though standouts include the lobster in ginger and scallion sauce and the crab in szechuan sauce.
Sauces in general are exemplary. The quail or hen served with sticky rice and a side of thick, sweet brown sauce is great as a starter. The crispiness of the quail's skin is complemented well by the sweetness of the sauce and the tenderness of the meat. Another great dish is the sizzling black pepper beef, which you can also get with chicken and comes with a lot of crispy, fresh peppers. The crispy noodles, served with an assortment of fresh vegetables and your choice of meat, seafood or just vegetables is great both before and after the sauce soaks into the noodles.
Though I can't comment on the pho (I have seen many eating it), if you stick with the seafood and saucy dishes you'll have a meal you'll dream about. The prices are reasonable and, the quality outstanding.
Pho as good as it gets. We stumbled upon this place after tiring of the crowds and bad service on S. Grand.. and boy, did we get lucky!!! This place is huge, the service is great, and the pho is totally authentic. I like rare beef and my man likes the more authentic tripe style soup. The broth is rich and flavorful they serve it with all the accoutrements and it's a dollar cheaper than most places ($4.95 I think) for a huge bowl. It's worth the drive!
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