Not just noodles
Kim Son Restaurant102 E 2nd St.
Reno, NV 89501
I was looking for a good late-night spot to get dinner the other night after a movie, and my friend Kristian recommended Kim Son, a Vietnamese restaurant downtown. It’s open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. I’d never been there before, so I thought I should check it out. I’m starting to believe that Reno has a good international food scene. With all the Thai, Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Italian and Salvadoran restaurants in the surrounding area, we’re getting spoiled.
Kim Son is one of the fabulous pho spots in Reno, but they also specialize in Chinese food. My buddy Matt met us there. He taunted, “What do you know about Chinese food? I’ve been eating Chinese food since before you were born.” He’s about 10 years younger than I am. Oh well.
We all agreed that we liked the ambiance of Kim Son. It’s right in the middle of the crazy downtown scene, but once you’re inside, it’s nice, clean and quiet.
Kristian ordered the rice noodle pho ($6.50), Matt chose the General’s chicken ($7.50), and I got the spring roll ($4.95) and the Vietnamese barbecue pork ($6.95).
The food started arriving one plate at a time. My spring roll came first. It was the traditional cold Vietnamese style roll, stuffed full of rice noodles, veggies, pork and shrimp with peanut sauce. Wrapped up with the prawns showing through the rice paper, it was a sweet presentation. Kristian’s pho came out next. It was a good-sized bowl of soup, full of shrimp, pork, chicken, veggies and rice noodles—a substantial meal. She tore right into it. She’s been here before and knows what she likes. Then, Matt’s General’s chicken and my barbecue pork arrived. Both of them had a good amount of meat—meat! I tasted General’s chicken, and it was killer. General’s chicken has always been my favorite, and Kim Son has a terrific sweet and spicy one. I love the way it’s lightly battered and fried until crispy, then tossed in a sauce of dried red chiles, scallions, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar—all thick and syrupy. My barbecue pork was awesome, too. It was covered in sesame seeds and full of flavor. It’d been marinated in a plum-tamarind-ginger sauce, then slow-cooked over coals until the sugars from the sauce were caramelized, forming a crust. We chowed down, and the plates were empty in no time.
The food at Kim Son is fast, delicious and inexpensive—three decisive factors when I choose a restaurant. The menu here is large, as are the portions, and there are many specialties to try upon return visits, like all the different types of pho and the multitude of Chinese and Vietnamese entrees. On top of that, they have a rotating specials list with exotic treats like frog’s legs and alligator meat. The dining room is big, with the capacity to handle large parties without reservations—a plus in my book. Restaurants like this make for a good melting pot of global cuisines in town. It’s educational dining. If you haven’t tried it yet, you will learn something new.