Downtown Lunch: Vietnamese on the Baxter Strip
Making Downtown office workers jealous is something this blog has been doing for awhile now. To even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food). This week he covers something I still have not found a good version of in Midtown: Vietnamese
When I did my time in Nam I ate some amazing food, and naturally when I returned from the trenches I had the taste for it, so I wanted to find the best place in the city where I could relive my culinary experiences (always a tough thing to do). Granted I was vacationing in Vietnam (not fighting in Nam), but finding good Vietnamese food in this city is almost as futile as fighting in some awful war that never should have been fought. (See how I did that? Apologies to everyone for interjecting a terrible political analogy into a food blog.)
While there, one of my favorite dishes was the fried spring roll, which bases itself on the premise that pretty much anything fried is really good. I’ve had them in a few places here in New York but my favorite so far has to be New Pasteur Restaurant on Baxter street. The delicate thumb size rolls are fried to perfection and should be wrapped in accompanying lettuce leaf and dipped in the mild vinegar based broth they give you in a small dish. Other standouts include the Bun Ga Cary – curry chicken with rice vermicelli in a spicy curry broth.
Next door at Thai So’n you can’t go wrong with any of the Pho’s (rice noodle soup) , most of them priced at a pretty cheap 5-6 bucks. Walk around the corner and up to the next block and you’ll find Nha Hang Pho Viet Huong (73 Mulberry street), also referred to as the “pink menu place”, you know- for whitey who can’t pronounce all that. They dish up 5 dollar lunches such as the popular chicken with ginger and scallion, which comes on regular white rice or “broken” rice (whatever that means). Either way it tasted just fine to me.
Overall you can’t go wrong for a good cheap meal at any of these three establishments. Service is prompt except if you get there during the rush hour lunchtime where you might have to either wait a bit or share a table. Overall if you aren’t familiar with the Chinatown scene and were going to try one of these spots, New Pasteur is my favorite. Trust me- I’m huge in Vietnam…
New Pasteur Restaurant, 85 Baxter St. (btw. Canal & Bayard) (212) 608-3656
Thai So’n, 89 Baxter Street (btw. Canal & Bayard). 212-732-2822
Nha Hang Pho Viet Huong, 73 Mulberry Street (nr Bayard). 212-233-8988
Photos and Post by Daniel Krieger