While New Orleans is rife with first-rate Vietnamese food, very little (first rate or otherwise) is available in the Uptown area, the neighborhood where I eat most of my weekday lunches. Jazzmine Cafe (614 S Carrollton Ave, 504.866.9301), fortunately for me, is within a long stroll of my office and it offers a variety of inexpensive lunch options. After my recent extended period of Italian carb-loading, the goi ga (chicken & cabbage salad) scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. Sure, the salad could have used a hit of fresh basil & mint, but for $6.50, I won’t complain too much. Jazzmine’s food is like that: satisfying, value-priced, yet not quite up to the best versions of each dish available elsewhere.
One quibble, with Jazzmine and a bunch of other places (La Thai and Phil’s Grill come to mind): why do so many restaurants now sport a flat-screen TV (or two) in the middle of the dining room, tuned to close-captioned CNN or Fox News? I don’t mind a TV behind or over the bar, but those damn flat screens are creeping into every corner of life. First, the doctor’s waiting room, then the oil-change shop and nail salons…what’s next? Flat-screens at the snowball stands?