Vietnamese burritos exist, and they’re in Midtown. That’s what I learned when I stumbled into Boi Sandwich (3rd Ave. btw 44th+45th) looking for a quick lunch the other day. They’re taking Bahn Mi-style ingredients and stuffing them into flour tortillas, and the result is a tasty bit of fusion.
Archive for 'Vietnamese'
Got this report from Lunch’er Joel the other day about a new banh mi place that just opened up in Midtown West…
I stumbled into this place, seeing “Bahn mi” written on a whiteboard, out of the corner of my eye this morning. It’s on 47th street, close to 9th Ave, just off the corner – it’s called something like “Saigon Cafe 9 West”. Had a small but authentic seeming menu. I opted for the traditional Bahn mi, which at $6 was closer to downtown prices than the more expensive (and only recently available, with Boi Noodles and Cha Pas arrival) Bahn Mi offerings.
Good Vietnamese food is hard to come by in Midtown, and as we’ve mentioned before, Boi Noodles is about what you’d expect from Vietnamese food in the area. That said, I’ve been curious about the very inexpensive congee on the menu for a few weeks now, and yesterday I finally stopped in to see what it’s all about.
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
The other day, I was feeling under the weather and in need of some hot soup. After perusing various menus, I settled on Bao Noodles (on 2nd btw. 22+23rd), which Clay recommended back in August for their lunch specials. Unfortunately, I ordered this meal on Seamless, where apparently the lunch special is not offered (so long, free starter). But I settled on Saigon Style Egg Noodle Soup (Mi Saigon): egg noodles with slices of pork, squid, quail egg, shrimp, garlic, chives, and bean sprouts in chicken broth ($9.95).
As you might remember, a couple of weeks ago, I passed by a deli called Taz. This is the kind of place that ML readers would most likely never frequent, except that there were signs for Vietnamese food heavily advertised outside and in the back of the deli. Excited, I made a mental note to return, but when I did, the workers there were perplexed, because Mr. Vientamese food didn’t show up for work on day two.
The past couple of weeks have been supremely annoying, because the more I returned to try the food, the less the guy showed up for work. It’s almost like I dreamed up the whole thing, except I am in possession of the original menu. Anyway, according to the workers who do come in for work, it seems that during the first week — which, I would like to point out was Thanksgiving – they didn’t sell enough Vietnamese food (maybe because Mr. Vietnamese food didn’t show up!), so the guy has given up the whole idea. Oh well! Back to the drawing board.
On Monday, I walked by Taz, a generic-looking deli on 45th street, and noticed signs for Vietnamese food. Well, hello! Sure enough, in the back there were offerings of bun, congee and more. Unfortunately for me, I had already acquired my Thanksgiving-inspired lunch, but I was excited for a return trip.
When I returned yesterday workers at the establishment seemed bewildered, because Monday was the first day for the freshly made Vietnamese fare, and yesterday the guy just didn’t show up! I guess only one dude knows the recipes? Obviously, I’ll be checking back next week, but did anyone get a chance to try it out on Monday? To be continued …
Taz, 19 W. 45th St. (btw 5th & 6th Ave.)
In hindsight, it was unfair of us to post a mostly unfavorable write-up of Bai Cha, which opened on 9th Ave last August. We don’t call ourselves professional restaurant critics, but any professional food writer worth their salt will wait at least a month before visiting a restaurant with the intent to critique. So when I saw that Bai Cha’s bánh mì fell around the middle of the pack in Serious Eats’ recent assessment – earning a place right behind Bánh Mì Saigon, but besting Baoguette and Nicky’s among others – I knew it was time a for another visit.
Read more »
The question of ‘Who makes the best phở?’ is a hotly debated topic – NoVa versus Seattle versus NorCal versus SoCal – it’s a showdown with an impossible conclusion. But I doubt that I’d get too many dissenting opinions if I proclaimed New York’s pho joints to be generally mediocre, with even lousier options in Midtown Manhattan. But we should work with what we have. After multiple visits to the newly opened Cha Pa’s Noodles and Grill (on 52nd btw. 8+9th), I’ve found that the quality of the food and maturity of the service has markedly improved. And they serve, in my humble opinion, one of the best bowls of phở that I’ve tasted in Midtown.
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.
Read more »
Despite the terrible name, I’ve become a little hooked on Foodie (44th btw 2nd+3rd). Everything close to my job has gotten a bit stale for me, so when Boi became Foodie earlier this month it allowed me to enjoy the quick lunch again. I have been especially looking forward to their dumplings, which weren’t available until last Friday. And not only do they have dumplings, they have dumpling soup! I know it’s just dumplings in broth, but it’s more than that to me-it’s the first time I’ve gotten respectable dumplings for lunch in Midtown in a long time.