ChaPa’s is Open for Lunch and Will be Serving Banh Mi

Cha Pa's menu

At long last, the enigmatic ChaPa’s Noodle and Grill (52nd between 8th & 9th) has opened to the public. Until only yesterday, the actual theme of the restaurant (aside from being about “noodles and grill”) was a mystery, and when we found out that these noodles and grilled food would be Vietnamese, we got really excited. So excited that I sloshed through some seriously crummy weather to check it out after work. I was, for the most part, pleased with what I saw and tasted. However, since this was their first night of operation, it would be unfair to comment on the food. Instead, here’s a preview of what you might get for lunch.

Cha Pa's pho bo

I found out from the floor staff that the owner of the restaurant had been previously involved with Pho Bang on Mott St, as well as Boi Noodles, so the focus of the menu should be familiar to anyone who’s been to either venue. The lunch menu easily meets our $10 litmus, and there’s even bánh mì to be had! Unfortunately, they didn’t have them available for dinner, but you can be sure that I’ll be back to try it for lunch.

Cha Pa's goi cuon

Each of the lunch specialty items (with the exception of the bánh mì) come with your choice of a single gỏi cuốn (salad roll) or chả giò (fried roll).

ChaPa's bún thịt nướng

As a Midtown West luncher, I’m definitely excited to see what these guys can do going forward. The area is a virtual desert of Vietnamese food, and although the price and quality won’t come close to Chinatown or the outer boroughs, I think ChaPa’s shows a lot of promise. They also offer delivery and take-out, such as my midnight snack of bún thịt nướng (grilled pork over rice vermicelli) pictured above. I’ll certainly be back for another bowl of warming phở bò, and definitely for a bánh mì. In the meantime, early adopters, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Update: I called the restaurant to confirm that they’ll be opening for lunch, and unfortunately, they won’t open until around 2pm today.

You can follow ChaPa’s on Twitter, Facebook, or on their website.


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    “However, since this was their first night of operation, it would be unfair to comment on the food.”

    Is that code for the food sucked?

    • No, it’s just in poor taste to ‘review’ a place right when it opens. Most bloggers, and even professional reviewers (which we aren’t) will stick to this rule.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    i just finished a traditional banh mi, hold the mayo, from there. it filled a craving with the nicely, not too pickled veggies. the meat could have been a bit softer and the bread a bit crunchier, but the portion was great and flavors were good enough. will anything ever be better than the banh mi i had in hoi anh, never. but the guy said they really specialize in the pho, so i’ll make sure to get that next time. the decor is wonderfully minimal, bright and clean. the folks are really nice as well. the wonderful cup of vietnamese coffee really hit the spot. go there and support them! fyi – it’s cash only right now.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Just a note: Credit cards are now up and running.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Bad experience last night. I stirred up my bun thit nuong and plumes of steam rose from the bowl. The noodles were hot. Might’ve just been that the cooks didn’t let the noodles cool enough, but that’s a pretty massive oversight for a cold noodle dish. That wasn’t the only problem though. Overall, the only flavor I could taste was in the pork. Full disclosure: I did live in Saigon for 2 1/2 years, so I recognize I’m biased, but this dish was simply tasteless.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Just had the traditional banh mi, which was really good. Not quite as good as the Saigon Sandwich Shop, in San Francisco, which is the U.S. Gold Standard for banh mi, but almost. Bread was crunchy and doughy, veggies were fresh and the pork was savory and delicious. Also had the Vietnamese Coffee Soda, which is hime-made and appears to be fresh-made Vietnamese coffee mixed with seltzer—sublime. Tasted like an egg cream. AT $10 and change, a tiny bit pricey, but I’m definitely going back here.

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