Archive for 'Vietnamese'

Boi Restaurant Goes Downscale, Renamed “Foodie”

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The Boi restaurants were at one point a God-send for those of us in Midtown East: pretty decent Vietnamese, only slightly overpriced for what it was. Plus, Boi To Go was one of the first places to offer the elusive banh mi in Midtown; granted it wasn’t Chinatown-cheap style banh mi, but we take what we can get here, don’t we? For a while they’ve been going through some changes, beginning with Boi To Go shuttering back in August which wasn’t a huge shock considering that Boi Sandwich is practically identical and one avenue over.  But when we heard yesterday that they had closed Boi Restaurant, their slightly upscale Vietnamese flagship (on 44th btw. 2+3rd), that was kind of surprising.  Even more surprising? The new name. Ladies and gentleman, meet “Foodie”.

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Pret is Making Bánh Mì?! Ahem, I Mean “Vietnamese Baguette”

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As far as chains go, I’m not a Pret hater. Yes, their sandwiches tend toward the pricey. But they do use good ingredients and they are always switching up the menu with new items. Case in point this their new “Vietnamese Baguette” which to my way of thinking is their dummy’s way of saying bánh mì.
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I Wonder if I'll Still Like Pho 32 When I Get Back From Vietnam

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The beginning of my search for Vietnamese food ahead of my upcoming trip to Asia coincided with the rainy days we had over the last few weeks. With the early onset of soup weather, I’ve found myself at Pho 32 a lot lately. The Koreatown soup station has been mentioned many times here and I’ve written about it, but it’s never gotten the proper Midtown Lunch treatment.

With fall here, it’s just about the right time to start looking at the area soup options, so check out Pho 32′s offerings after the jump.

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It’s No Vietnam, But Golden City Will Do In a Pinch

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Around the end of the year, I’ve got an Asia trip planned. Over two and a half weeks, we’ll be visiting Vietnam, Hong Kong and dropping into the Philippines for a couple days for a wedding. We’ll have friends guiding us through the Chinese and Filipino food options, but in Vietnam, we’ll be on our own. So, in the name of research, I plan to spend the next two months familiarizing myself with the cuisine as much as I can within the confines of New York. Y’know, for science.

We all know that there’s precious little Vietnamese food to be found in Midtown, but Golden City/V33 (33rd Street between 5th and 6th) has been a go to place for me for some time. Last year, Zach was shocked to hear about it when I wrote about the Vietnamese options there, but never had a chance to follow up. Lately, I’ve gone back to try out some of the other dishes on the menu.

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Kolette’s Kitchen’s Kosher Banh Mi is Surprisingly Not Terrible

Kolette's Kitchen

There have been some heated debates around here about where to find the perfect banh mi in Midtown. After we mentioned Yushi was pushing the Vietnamese sandwich on Wednesdays, they quickly sold out in subsequent weeks. Then there was the epic “Banh-Mi-Palooza” organized by Lunch’er Christine and a gang of other awesome ML readers. So, naturally, we were gonna freak the eff out when we heard that Kolette’s Kitchen (a new place on Lex btw. 55+56th) was offering kosher (!?) banh mi complete with porkless (natch) pate. Banh mi without its signature meat ingredient? See how it did on judgment day…

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Your First Look at Bai Cha, The Hell’s Kitchen SE Asian Street Food Stand

Bai Cha Exterior

I love seeing scrappy underdog restaurants pop up out of nowhere. Word-of-mouth publicity from readers of Midtown Lunch carries a lot more weight with me than slick advertising campaigns. So, yesterday, when we heard through the grapevine about a new (but slightly-out-of-bounds) restaurant that serves Southeast Asian street food, our interest was piqued. On paper and in concept, I was instantly sold – Thai inspired papaya salads, Malaysian satay skewers and roti’s and what’s that… a BANH MI? To borrow a quote from Anthony Bourdain, I would cheerfully “crawl naked across broken glass” for a good banh mi. It’s my absolute favorite food, ever.

I was so excited for the prospect of good Malay and Viet food, that I skipped a work happy hour (sorry co-workers that may be reading this) and voyaged over to 9th ave to get my banh mi fix. So do we finally have a bonafide banh mi in Midtown West?
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SE Asian Street Food Market Opens on 9th Ave.

A few weeks ago Lunch’er “Emily” (not today’s profiled lunch’er, but a different Emily) told us about Bai Cha, a self proclaimed South East Asian street food & market (on 9th Ave. btw. 49+50th) and today Life With Food and Drink confirms that it’s open and has posted a copy of the menu. Satay, salads, banh mi, roti and dumplings… It’s slightly out of bounds, but with a Vietnamese street food line-up like that I think we can walk the extra avenue to check it out. Early adopters, let us know how it is in the comments.

Boi Noodles is About What You’d Expect For Midtown Vietnamese

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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?

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Chef’s Secret Pho Bo Is A Decent Noodle Bowl

Chef's Secret formerly known as Thai Nam
After noticing Chef’s Secret (formerly known as Thai Nam on 45th btw. Lex+3rd) was offering pho bo last week, I went back to try the Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup to relieve my curiosity. They describe their new offering as “hearty beef broth scented with cloves and anise. Served with thin rice noodle. Choice of beef/chicken/seafood.” All for $9.50! OK, not the best deal in Midtown, but I figured it’s worth a try since they’ve pretty much plastered the NEW pho bo flyers all over their window, their sidewalk sign, and walls inside…

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Menu Revealed: Boi Noodles Opening on Thursday

Boi’s Vietnamese restaurant empire, which already has two banh mi offshoots in Midtown East (Boi to Go and Boi Sandwich), will grow by one this week when Boi Noodles opens on 41st 40th btw. 7+8th.  The new location, which is scheduled to open on Thursday in the old Sophie’s Cuban space, will specialize in pho, but they will also sell sandwiches, wraps, salads, rice bowls, and noodle bowls- just like Boi Sandwich on 3rd Ave- plus Vietnamese coffee and bubble tea.  We’re kind of curious how it will compare to Chicken House (on 36th btw. 7+8th), which added banh mi, bun, and a pretty mediocre pho to their menu last year.

Check out the full menu from Boi Noodles, after the jump…

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