Archive for 'Vietnamese'

On The Radar: Thai-Nam’s New Pho

Thai Nam's New Pho Bo, NYC

I passed Thai-Nam (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd) the other day and immediately zeroed in on the tasty-looking photo of pho bo – Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup – plastered on their window. They describe their new offering as “hearty beef broth scented with cloves and anise. Served with thin rice noodle. Choice of beef/chicken/seafood.” Food that’s scented with anything always sounds suspicious to me, but I love pho so will overlook their attempts at fancy language. Thai-Nam wasn’t well-received by Zach on his last visit, but I’m curious enough to give it a go. Have you had it? And speaking of pho, any suggestions on where to find a good bowl in Midtown East?

Baoguette Wins Lunch’er Organized “Banh-Mi-Palooza”

Last week Lunch’er Christene floated the idea of a banh mi tasting in the connections section of the forums. Yesterday 7 Midtown Lunchers gathered in Grand Central to turn her dream into a reality. Here is Christene’s report…

With open minds and empty stomach, 7 Midtown lunchers gathered to rate 7 different banh mi-style sandwiches in a head-to-head competition. To ensure nuance and balance in the competition, representative banh mi’s were to include Chinatown (Paris Sandwich, Banh Mi Saigon), East Village (Nicky’s), Gramercy (Baoguette) and, of course, Midtown (Ma Peche, Yushi, and Boi To Go). We rated the sandwiches with 5 points assigned to each of 6 categories: bread, pork, vegetables, overall taste, authenticity and value. To ensure purveyors and/or price-point did not prejudice the taste ratings, we labeled sandwiches A-G and provided price on the flip side of post-its, so that tasters could self-reveal price after eating the sample and thus rate value independently.

The results are after the jump…

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Chicken House’s Vietnamese Food is Just Ok… But At Least Their Bread is From Paris Bakery!

Chicken House

I was beyond excited when Chicken House (the dirty fried chicken joint on 36th btw. 7+8th) reopened post renovation with a whole new Vietnamese section of their menu.  The ownership, which is Vietnamese (natch), hasn’t changed… they just decided to take advantage of our complete lack of decent Vietnamese options in Midtown by adding pho, bun, and banh mi to their menu of fried everything.  I finally made it over there a few days ago to sample the menu… and while I wish I could say everything was amazing (it most certainly wasn’t) there was some worthwhile goodness.

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WTF: Hing Won Now Selling Chinese “Banh Mi”

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Just when you thought the whole banh mi craze couldn’t get any crazier, Hing Won (on 48th btw. 5+6th) has added banh mi to their menu.  Yes, my favorite fast food Chinese place, known for their Chinatown style meats, soups, and noodle dishes is now serving Vietnamese sandwiches.  W…T…F?  My gut instinct is to laugh this one off and- in what should be a surprise to no one- it’s not a completely “authentic” banh mi, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.

Check out what they’re serving, after the jump…

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Boi Sandwich’s New Curry Chicken Meatball Banh Mi

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It only took seven weeks, but the Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge finally has a banh mi entry courtesy of Boi Sandwich, the take out place on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th owned by upscale Vietnamese restaurant Boi.  Midtown Lunch’er “Clues” was on this one early, and filed this report in the comments:

I just had their special “Curried Chicken Meatball” sandwich. It was awesome in two respects: size and taste. First, this thing is big. It’s probably almost 2x the size of a Sophie’s sandwich. The “baguette” is more like a 7″ x 5″ slice of a large loaf. The bread is, however, one of the strongest elements of the sandwich – crisp on the outside and very moist and airy on the inside. The French influence in Vietnam definitely pays off here. The combination of flavors is very good – curried chicken meatballs, cilantro, some sweet pickled veggies… all comes together well. None of the flavors are overwelming (the curry is very mild). I highly recommend it. The $7.50 price is high but you do get a lot of food and they are giving away promotion cards where you get your tenth meal for free – so ten sandwiches works out to $6.75 each plus tax.

Well, after reading that endorsement, how could I wait any longer to try this thing for myself?

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Ultraclay Unearths Random Vietnamese Food

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Photo courtesy of Ultraclay

I took a little bit of heat for saying there was no good Vietnamese food in Manhattan (banh mi excluded, obviously), but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying to prove myself wrong. Next stop: Golden City (on 33rd btw. Mad+5th) which has a $6.50 pork chop special that Ultraclay calls the “star of the show”. I’m sure this isn’t the Vietnamese goldmine I’ve been searching for (after all it’s a Chinese/Vietnamese combo in Koreatown), but those pork chops are delicious looking enough to get me to check it out! Anybody else been? Post your comments below.

Baoguette’s Out of Bounds Banh Mi is Worth the Extra Walk

Baoguette

I may be in the minority, but I happen to like the banh mi at Boi to Go (on 2nd Ave. btw. 42+43rd), and their newly opened Boi Sandwich (on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th).  But even I’ll admit, it’s only good for Midtown.  Put their $8 Vietnamese sandwich in Chinatown and I probably wouldn’t even give it a second look. So dreaming of something a little better, I decided earlier in the week to venture just outside the Midtown Lunch boundaries to try Baoguette, Chef Michale Huynh’s new take-out Banh Mi counter on Lexington btw 25+26th Street. It replaced a closed down Blimpie (unlike our three closed Blimpies which remain empty) and I have to say, if you work in the southern part of Midtown- the choice between waking 8 blocks north to Boi Sandwich, or 10 blocks south to Baoguette is no choice at all.

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At Lunch Now: Boi Sandwich is Now Open on 3rd Ave

The long awaited Vietnamese take out place Boi Sandwich has finally opened on 3rd Ave btw 44+45th. Unlike its sister restaurant Boi to Go, which has some seating, the new sandwich place is take out only (and cash only for the time being.) I know a lot of you refuse to pay $7.50 for a banh mi, but it’s all we’ve got (and now one ave closer to Midtown proper!)

In addition to the banh mi, which appear to be the same as Boi to Go, they are also offering noodle bowls, rice bowls, Asian burritos (hello!), and salads ($7 to $8). It may take awhile, but I think I may
have to eat through the entire menu.

Banh Mi Finally Coming to Midtown Proper

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Oh what a difference an avenue makes!  When Boi to Go, the fast food Vietnamese offshoot of the restaurant Boi, opened in May of last year, it caused me to walk one avenue farther than I think any Midtown Lunch’er should have to walk (it’s on 2nd Ave btw. 42+43rd.) But for the only banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) in Midtown, a man will do crazy things.  That is also why I didn’t complain too much about the price tag ($7.50).  Compared to Chinatown or Sunset Park, what Boi to Go serves is a not entirely authentic (what’s with the avocado?), overpriced sandwich. However, you put it next to most Midtown deli sandwiches, it is competitively priced- and freakin’ delicious.  And now, it’s going to be one avenue closer- in proper Midtown Lunch’ing range.

In about month, Boi to Go will open a second offshoot on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th called “Boi Sandwich”.  I haven’t heard exactly what the menu will be, or if it will effect what is going on at the original Boi to Go, but if they serve the same sandwiches I’ll be pretty damn excited.  (Even though I could probably use the extra walking…)

Related: Boi to Go (aka How I Learned to Love the $7.50 Banh Mi)

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: Thai-Nam

Thai-Nam, Midtown NYC

Oh man.  What are we going to do?  Has it really come to this?  Since Yum Thai closed last year, I have been seriously Thai deprived.  Sure, there are options available- but none are really “Midtown Lunch” worthy (i.e. there is no super cheap, order at a counter Thai food in Midtown.)  If you want Thai, you’re going to have to eat it at a sit down restaurant, or order it to go and take it back to your office.  There are plenty of options to the far west, but not much going on to the East, which is what brought me to Thai-Nam last week; a Thai/Vietnamese combo restaurant on 45th btw. Lex+3rd.

What I got (after ignoring the various red flags) after the jump… Read more »