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

Downtown Lunch

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.  

Downtown Lunch

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.

Downtown Lunch

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



  • Com tam is jagged bits of jasmine rice: nuttier and stickier. I never met a rice I didn’t love, but when in Chinatown and jonesing for Vietnamese, my heart bleeds banh mi!!

  • I have to strongly disagree. I’m very much a Nha Trang partisan, and find it considerably considerably better on all fronts than Pasteur and Pho Viet Huong.

  • Might as well call this website if the boundaries have become meaningless.

    Or is it just to drive more traffic to the website, which means more advertising revenue for Zack?

  • photographic self promotion. classy.

  • Yeah, Jack is right. Nha Trang is better, and everyone should stay away from New Pasteur . . . lest it become overrun, and then I’d–cough–have a hard time getting a table.

  • Calling you out- don’t be a retard. This was requested by readers LIKE ME who unfortunately work in the dregs of downtown.

    PS Daniel now if I see you eating in my ‘hood, I’m going to trip you. Just kidding, I’m not THAT kind of Feisty.

    Mmm, this is making me really crave bun and coi guon (the summer rolls, the spring rolls always make me feel a bit sick after). Oh, isn’t the dipping sauce for the spring rolls… fish sauce? I could be wrong… but I was pretty sure that’s what it is.

  • SEMidtown, I am more than happy for you to continue to rock the Pasteur. Food there is truly excellent. Enjoy!

  • I don’t mind Saigon 48 on, ahem, 48th St, btwn Bway & 8th Ave, for Vietnamese. Good lunch specials too.

  • I’ve been to all these places several times (I live near City Hall) and I can say without question that the Nha Trang on Centre St. is better than all the ones he mentioned. The pho is so good as are all the grilled meats (pork paste!!!!). The ones he mentioned are worth a visit, but with the exception of New Pasteur, I wouldn’t visit them again.

  • love, love, love the pork chops and the salt and pepper shrimp at Nha Trang.

  • are those massage girls or waitresses . . . or both?

  • what about Doyers?

  • Have to say I’m partial to the Nha Trang on Baxter (as opposed to Centre). Probably just psychological though. Pork chops, salt/pepper squid, and summer rolls all excellent. BBQ beef and spring rolls decent.

    Pho ok but I’d like to find better. Has anyone tried Cong Ly on Hester?

  • Doyers!!! The best Vietnamese in the whole city (imo). Is just like food I ate in Vietnam. Yummy!!!

  • Nha Trang is great as well but I just didn’t mention it..geesh

  • @jnif: For pho, you should try Xe Lua. I’ve tried pho at many different places, and alot of times, it tastes like the broth is made with instant powder instead of simmering the beef bones. The pho at Xe Lua has a beefy flavor, and they serve all the right garnish: flat leaf cilantro, basil, lime, sprouts, and spiky cilantro.

  • The truth is there is no really good Vietnamese food in NYC. And while New Pasteur and Nha Trang are reliable old standbys, newcomer Xe Lua is infinitely better. The food tastes a little fresher, less sweet (Americanized) and the owners are Vietnamese, not Chinese-Vietnamese.

  • yeah i agree with Lunch in that there’s just no good vietnamese in new york. i think nam viet has the most edible pho i’ve tried yet (and their menu has other more authentic viet dishes available such as banh cuon and banh xeo, which is nice) – i hear vietnamese spoken there by staff and clientele (altho i think staff is viet/chinese b/c i hear chinese too). i haven’t tried xe lua yet but will check it out! i find nha trang and new pasteur unacceptable…cloudy MSG-y pho broth at nha trang; new pasteur had saucy shaky beef altho it should be charred cubes…pho viet huong and pho bang is ok. sorry, we viets are really picky eaters i know. dc metro area (where i’m from) has great viet if anyone wants some true blue viet!

  • Hey, where’s my photo credit? Just finally read this — even though you stole my spring roll obsession, I enjoyed reading about your Vietnamese adventures downtown. Unfortunately I also work midtown, but I should come visit one afternoon. Fun stuff!

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