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Posts Tagged ‘Mi Linh’

The Scoop: Mi Linh to reinvent itself as Mi Lounge and Spa

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014



Popular Rock Hill Vietnamese restaurant Mi Linh is getting a major beauty makeover. Owner Dee Dee Tran has closed the restaurant for renovations and will reopen in October as Mi Lounge and Spa, a cafe with Mi Linh’s most popular menu items on one side and a spa on the other side. Mi Linh’s last dinner service was Saturday, Aug. 23.

Although Mi Linh was successful, Tran said the long hours operating a restaurant were taxing. Mi Linh, which opened in May 2013, saw the departure of its executive chef, Tran’s brother Nelson Tran, in January. Dee Dee Tran said while her brother’s passion was food, hers is beauty. She also owns Jasmine Nails and Skin Care in Brentwood and said she has always wanted to operate a spa that also serves cocktails and food. “I wanted people to be able to come in and have lunch or dinner while they have their spa service done,” Tran said.

The lounge side will offer Mi Linh mainstays like its Canh Ga Chien (fried butter garlic chicken wings with sweet chili sauce, named the No.1 dish of 2013 by Sauce critic Michael Renner), egg rolls, spring rolls and buttermilk shrimp. The menu will also include bun, a classic Vietnamese dish of cold rice noodles served in a bowl with shredded lettuce, cucumber, herbs, sauteed green onions, roasted peanuts and meat. Tran will also add a selection of banh mi, traditional Vietnamese sandwiches.

On the beverage side, a full bar will serve cocktails, as well as healthy smoothies. Tran said food can be ordered in the lounge or delivered to spa patrons at their manicure or pedicure stations. She also plans to offer weekly spa specials featuring a cocktail and matching spa treatment, such as a margarita manicure featuring the cocktail to sip while the customer receives a salt and lime hand scrub.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The List: Canh Ga Chien at Mi Linh

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



Last year, I loved Mi Linh’s Canh Ga Chien so much that it made my Top 5 Dishes of 2013 list. Lightly breaded with rice flour and cornstarch, deep-fried and then sauteed with butter, red pepper flakes, garlic and diced onions, these chicken wings made me wish I could eat them every day. Then there was a shake-up in the family-run restaurant, and head chef Nelson Tran – brother of owner Dee Dee Tran – was out. How are the wings now? During a return visit, the dish was overloaded with scallions and garlic, but the light and crispy coating still cracked with the first bite, the meat was still juicy, the gentle heat still warmed my lips, and the wings still glistened – as did my fingers – with butter and oil. My verdict? I’m still eating them.

9737 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.918.8868, milinh.net

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Mi Linh owner discusses chef changes, Vietnamese New Year celebration

Monday, January 27th, 2014



A chef change and upcoming New Years celebration have kept Mi Linh owner Dee Dee Tran busy in the Rock Hill restaurant’s kitchen. Among Tran’s more recent tasks has been ensuring a smooth transition due to the departure of her brother, executive chef Nelson Tran, who left to pursue other opportunities.

“He has been gone for three months. Nothing has changed,” she said, noting that Mi Linh dishes hail from family recipes, which she has. Tran has spent more time in the kitchen working with Manh Kieu, a chef who has worked at the restaurant since the beginning. Since her brother’s departure, Tran has added a few items to the menu, including a shrimp curry dish and a vegetarian noodle soup.

She also will unveil a new entree Jan. 31, when she pulls out all the stops at Mi Linh in honor of Vietnamese New Year. Tran said the celebration also will include drinks and possibly a dragon dance. Guests that night can take an envelope from the restaurant’s flower tree and open it to find a prize like a ticket good for a free drink, free dinner and even a lottery ticket.

Since opening its doors last May, Mi Linh has garnered positive reviews, including in a Sauce review by Michael Renner, who named the restaurant’s chicken wings (Canh Ga Chien) his No. 1 dish of 2013.

“They love the chicken wings so much. Everybody, even kids, … they try it and just love it,” Tran said. “When you open a business you hope for the best. I am surprised, especially with this location here. All the neighbors are so nice and supportive … Sometimes, I am here until two in the morning, but I feel it is worth it. In the restaurant business, you don’t make money like you think. But when I get those nice comments, it’s worth it.”

-photo by Jonathan Gayman


Michael Renner’s Top 5 Dishes of 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants, from vegetarian fare to barbecue to fine dining. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2013:



No. 5: Spanish octopus at Central Table Food Hall
Even more striking than the two thick tentacles was how tender they were: braised for six hours and finished on the grill. Served with aerated fennel foam, caramelized fennel and its fresh fronds, and jiggling slabs of tomato water gelée, it’s as though though the ocean washed up on your plate, complete with froth, seaweed and jellyfish.

No. 4: Roasted pork loin at Elaia
No ordinary roasting could produce the tender-smooth texture of this Berkshire pork loin when it was on the menu earlier this year. Only six hours in a CVap, or what chef-owner Ben Poremba calls his “magical oven,” could yield such transcendence.




No. 3: Fried chicken at The Libertine 
Chef Josh Galliano’s New Orleans roots shine with this version: brined in sweet tea, soaked in spicy buttermilk, coated in cornmeal and flour, and deep-fried in lard and canola oil for a shaggy, crunchy crust laden with paprika and black pepper.

No. 2:  Spring garlic soup at Niche
Tiny, airy raw garlic “marshmallows” floated to the top when hot liquid was poured over them. A steamy cloud scented with citrusy-spicy bergamot leaves, preserved lemon purée and bits of dried beets and carrots wafted from the bowl; this was not soup, it was an elixir.


And my No. 1 dish of 2013 is…



Canh Ga Chien (fried butter garlic chicken wings) at Mi Linh
Fried then sauteed, these wings are juicy and garlicky, crackling with each bite. Your fingers glisten with butter and oil; your lips warm from the gentle heat. You wish you could eat these wings every night for the rest of your life.

- Central Table Food Hall photo by Greg Rannells; The Libertine and Mi Linh photos by Jonathan Gayman

In This Issue: New and Notable – Mi Linh

Thursday, November 7th, 2013


How does one judge a new Vietnamese restaurant in a city touting more than 30 restaurants featuring the same cuisine? What makes a new place better than the rest when they all offer pretty much the same dishes? Is it fair to judge a restaurant by just one dish?

Maybe Dee Dee Tran and her brother Nelson Tran pondered these questions when they opened Mi Linh, their 5-month-old Vietnamese restaurant in Rock Hill (She’s the general manager; he runs the kitchen.). However, with Nelson’s 20-year tenure in the restaurant industry (working in kitchens from New York to Seattle) and Dee Dee’s experience in running other businesses, the Trans certainly don’t have to prove themselves.

But oh, how they do! And for good measure – again and again.

To read more about what Michael Renner thought of Mi Lihn, click here.

-photo by Johnathan Gayman


Hit List: Two new restaurants to try this month

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


THE LIBERTINE: 7927 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.2999, libertinestl.com

Check your preconceptions at the door of The Libertine, the long-awaited new restaurant from Nick and Audra Luedde and local super-star chef Josh Galliano. Here, “buffalo style” crispy pig tails (pictured below) stand in for chicken wings and are far more addictive than their poultry counterparts. The house burger gets topped with house-made cheese “whiz” and served on a bacon-studded challah bun, while Three Little Birds arrive as one: hen, quail and chicken all pressed together for a brick of poultry that’s crisp, tender and perfectly cooked. Finish things off with The Libertine Candy Bar, a highbrow convergence of flavors likened to an Almond Joy and those ice cream-laden Snickers bars you pulled from the freezer at 7-Eleven as a kid. But first, head to the bar to fill your glass with small-batch liquors, local craft brews or a glass of bio-dynamic wine.


{The Libertine’s “buffalo style” crispy pig tails}


{Vietnamese coffee}

MI LINH: 9737 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.918.8868, milinh.net

It’s pho and more at this new Vietnamese restaurant in Rock Hill. Mi Linh offers oodles of options among noodle soups and bowls, including the house specialty, mi, a delicate soup of egg noodles in a rich pork broth, made hearty with meat or seafood and enlivened by bean sprouts, celery leaf, chives and lime. From starters like spring rolls down to the do chua (pickled veggies) that accompany rice plates, Mi Linh pays homage to the fresh flavors that characterize this section of the globe. A taste of Vietnam continues with beverages, whether you’re thirsty for Saigon or Tiger beer, Vietnamese coffee, a guanabana smoothie or a glass of refreshing house-made green tea lemonade.

– The Libertine photos by Michelle Volansky


The Scoop: Mi Linh prepares to serve authentic Vietnamese in Rock Hill

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Get ready to slurp noodle soup with chopsticks! A Vietnamese restaurant is coming to Rock Hill. Mi Linh, located at 9737 Manchester Road, in the old China Inn space, will open doors on Sunday, May 12.

As Riverfront Times’ restaurant sleuth Ian Froeb reported a few weeks ago, the restaurant is owned by Dee Dee Tran. Tran is a native of Vietnam and a local businesswoman.

The house specialty, said Tran will be her family’s recipe for mi, a soup of wheat noodles in a rich, clear pork broth. Mi is a dish typical of southern Vietnam, she noted, and is also what lends the restaurant its name. (Linh, the latter half of the restaurant’s name, is a family name.) While Mi Linh will offer numerous dishes reflecting the Indochina region (Look for oodles of noodle-happy pho, hot pot comfort fare and vegetarian delights.), it will also spotlight southern Vietnamese cuisine that is influenced by China and France.

Helming the kitchen will be Tran’s brother, Nelson Tran. His 20-year tenure in the restaurant business has led him to kitchens in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Seattle. He recently returned to St. Louis.

Dee Dee Tran’s husband, an area contractor, has helped to transform the former China Inn space into one that reflects the culture of Vietnam as much as the food coming from the kitchen. Fixtures have even been imported from the Tran’s homeland.

When Mi Linh opens on Mother’s Day, its regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

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