Boi Noodles is About What You’d Expect For Midtown Vietnamese
Getting good Vietnamese food in New York City is a tough task. Most purists would say you can’t get any good stuff here, while others will proclaim Manhattan doesn’t have it but the outer boroughs does. So, naturally, it’s pretty bleak for those of us here in Midtown. When Boi Noodles announced they were opening on 40th btw. 7+8th, it was exciting news for those of us on the west side of Midtown. From the reviews of Boi to Go and Boi Sandwich on the east side, I kind of knew what to expect- not the best Vietnamese food of all time, but hopefully better than Chicken House (on 36th btw. 7+8th.)
So, how did Boi Noodles stack up to my expectations?
When it comes to pho, Boi Noodles has it for $7.35 (pre-tax). You can get it with chicken, lemongrass chicken, beef, shrimp, beef balls, and even vegetarian. I picked the one called Pho Saigon. It came with beef and beef balls along with the usual toppings for pho: basil, bean sprouts, and cilantro. They gave hot sauce and hoison sauce on the side. Compared to bowls you may get in Chinatown or on the other coast, the broth is obviously not the best- but for Midtown, it’s decent enough to tide you over until you can work your way to more authentic options. The beef is the main drawback here because it’s not the thinly sliced, barely cooked beef you see in Chinatown. Here, it is thickly sliced and a minor letdown. As a person who grew up eating fishballs and beefballs, I didn’t mind seeing them in the Saigon Pho, although it’s not something that everybody is used to in their pho.
If I had to choose, I’d probably go with the banh mi instead of the pho. All sandwiches at Boi Noodles are $6.89 (pre-tax). You can see the size relative to a metro card, so it’s not one of those things where they give you a super tiny sandwich. They’ll make it spicy if you want with a squirt of Sriracha instead of jalapeno peppers. My “banh mi Saigon” came with Vietnamese ham, pate, roast pork, cucumbers, pickled daikon and carrots. The bread used here is comparable to bread at other banh mi spots. Sadly the roast pork was a little dry so next time I might just go with the Vietnamese ham and pate.
Lunching in Midtown means that authentic Vietnamese food is only for those people with extra-long lunch breaks. But if you’re looking for a break from the usual, Boi Noodles definitely offers an option that approximates the tastes and flavors of Vietnamese food. If you approach Boi Noodles as an Asian inspired sandwich/noodle shop, you might be better off. You have to remember that we’re in Midtown, and in a city that’s starved for great Vietnamese food, you kinda gotta take what you can get here. And hey, in the end it’s still much better than what you can get at the run-of-the-mill deli chain in Midtown.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Did you just say banh mi and pho? In Midtown?!
- I just can’t wait to eat Vietnamese food, I need it now!
- The sandwiches here are filling and the bread is as good as you can get for banh mi
- It’s better than the Chicken House
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Man, it’s cheaper and better in Chinatown
- I’m looking for bowls of pho and banh mi that’s comparable to what you get in Vietnam (at least throw some tripe and tendon in there!)
Boi Noodles, 240 W 40th St (btwn 7th and 8th ave), (212) 575-0088