North American barbecue cuisine has recently taken off in Saigon, with spots such as Quan Ut Ut drawing trendy crowds of meat lovers every night. But if you prefer sofas to stools and your TV to traffic, the new delivery-only Sticky Fingers Grill will bring deliciousness right to your door.
Sticky Fingers prepares their ribs in the time-honored tradition one expects when donning food-specific clothes. The owner, a friendly Canadian named David, proudly explains, “We slow-grill our ribs for eight hours, then we rub them down with the sauce, then you eat them.” When I ask him why the prep work is so time-consuming, he replies simply, “It tastes better.”
I figured a man of such few words must grill a mean rack of ribs, and I was not disappointed. Sticky Fingers’ pork ribs (VND150,000) are so tender and succulent you’d slap your grandma if she asked for a bite. It would have been an insult to pick at such ribs with a fork; instead, I clutched them in my bare hands and gnawed like a ravenous caveman. In the aftermath, with my face, palms and upper torso covered in homemade barbecue sauce, I realised through the fog of my meat coma that I had neglected the side dishes.
Corn on the cob (VND30,000) is a necessary complement to any meal of barbecued meats, because it is technically a vegetable and therefore good for you. Sticky Fingers gets all its produce from local farms, and even an undiscerning foodie can taste the freshness. “Nothing canned, nothing frozen, nothing from a bottle,” David says proudly. Rubbed with a little bit of butter and a pinch of salt, the bright yellow kernels popped off the cob with a refreshing crispness. Each morsel lodged in my molars was a pleasant reminder that I’d eaten something healthy for lunch.
I saved Lucy’s Infamous Potato Salad (VND30,000) for last — a recipe given by a friend back home, who promised David grave bodily injury if he ever used it outside of Saigon. “She’d probably kill me,” he says, and not without reason. Made from scratch and seasoned to perfection, the hefty chunks of fork-smushable potato would be a top-seller in any city. Best to keep the competition overseas.
As I slurped up the elusive dregs of my blueberry-raspberry smoothie (VND45,000), I felt a twinge of remorse for the menu items I didn’t get to try like the pulled pork poutine (VND95,000), a decadent French-Canadian dish topped with gravy, French fries and cheese curds, or New York City’s holiest of sandwiches, the hot pastrami (VND135,000) (Editor’s note: it’s righteous).
Soon Sticky Fingers will offer even more choices — there are plans to add a selection of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to the menu, and David hopes to expand into a physical location in the future. Until then, he is happy to dispatch meat-bearing motorbikes across Saigon, like a carnivorous Santa Claus. “I never wanted to be a millionaire,” the ribsmaster says. “I just like feeding people.” — Niko Savvas
For Sticky Fingers Grill delivery, order online at stickyfingersgrill.com or call 0906 396461