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Mar 1, 2001 08:14 PM

Newbie for Vietnamese

  • c

Hello all,
I will be visiting NYC in july and I am looking for a recommendation for Vietnamese. I have heard some good things about Pho Na Trang on Baxter and would appreciate some comments on this restaurant or if some where else is better.


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  1. I've given up on all the Vietnamese places on Baxter street, including Nha Trang. All three were really good once, but descended, en masse, into nothingness. They continue to get business (and press coverage) on fumes of past glories, but I wouldn't go near any of 'em.

    Same for my onetime fave, Pho Bac (in elmhurst queens), which is just awful now.

    In fact, other than little dribs and drabs of things here and there...a sandwich in brooklyn, some good pho on Hester...I don't know where to send you. I"m not sure there IS any full-scale Vietnamese that's worth sending you to. Pho Bac has its supporters, but their cooking tastes like hackwork to me. Just totally flatline on the mmmm-meter.

    Sorry to be so gloomy-doomy.


    15 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff
      Robert Sietsema

      Check out Green Bamboo, a new Vietnamese at 100 Mott.

      1. re: Robert Sietsema

        I will! thanks for the tip! (wonder if anyone else out there has been there yet...?)


        1. re: Robert Sietsema

          Thanks for the recommendation. How's their pho?

          1. re: Michael L.
            Robert Sietsema

            The pho is well-furnished with the usual repertoire of 6 different kinds of beef (including offal), but, to my way of thinking, the broth was not as long cooked as it should have been.

            1. re: Robert Sietsema

              I walked by there the other week and their menu looked fairly standard - what have you found to be good, Robt?

              1. re: Robert Sietsema

                What is the result of not cooking the broth long enough? Not enough flavor?

          2. re: Jim Leff

            Nha Trang has seen better days. The grease level is way, way up and the quality of the ingredients has declined. How many pieces of fat and grissle need I trim from a piece of chicken? The straw that broke the camel's back was the cockroach that crawled across the table, sending my wife running.

            Thanks, Robert, for your recommendation. I hope it proves a worthy alternative.

            1. re: Asher

              I, too, agree with Jim. I used to like the Vietnamese place on the south side of Grand St. between Bowery and Christie, but their oily pho upset my stomach the last time I was there (their pho used to be blessedly low-fat and soothing). Ditto Vietnam (that's the one on Baxter furthest north toward Canal, right) and Pho Tu Do. How disappointing! If anyone finds a place with good pho that is not full of grease, please tell me!

              1. re: Michael L.

                I DO know a good place for Pho. I've mentioned it on these boards and it's in my book...Pho Cong Lee (124 Hester Street (near Chrystie) 343-1111), run by the redoubtable Mr. Hang. It's very good for pho and curry chicken, and unthinkable for anything else.

                But the difference between a pho place and a full Vietnamese restaurant is the diff between a pizzeria and a sit-down Italian. And unless Robert's place turns out a LOT better than the other places in town, there simply are no good options for the full treatment.

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Yes, I did go to Pho Cong Ly once. I liked the pho but was put off because member(s?) of the staff smoked. Smoking is also a recurrent and almost invariable problem at Congee Village, though it involves customers there. I may post separately about this topic.

            2. re: Jim Leff

              Shoot, I hate when I make typos. A slip of the fingers from any of us here might directly lead to a fellow hound ingesting undelicious chow.

              I meant Pho Bang, not Pho Bac, when I said the following:

              Pho Bac has its supporters, but their cooking tastes like hackwork to me. Just totally flatline on the mmmm-meter.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                How 'bout Nam Phuong on 6th near Walker St. or Viet-Nam on Doyers near Pell? Both have been on my list for a while, but I've yet to go. Feedback??

                1. re: Jimmy Z.

                  Well, I hope that you move Nam Phuong a little higher on your list. I like the place a lot, although I dont have the educated tastebuds of some other posters regarding this cuisine (not that I havent given it a real try). I love the Barbequed Beef Rolls and the Pho Thai is lovely and velvety. It has been a little while since I have been there, but I also liked a shredded chicken salad that was there last summer, redolent of mint, chilie peppers and mint--really lovely, really refreshing.

                  1. re: Deb Van D
                    Andrea Cheng

                    I'll second the Nam Phuong recommendation. A Vietnamese friend rates this place highly, particularly for the soups, which she says are probably the best she's had outside of home and/or L.A.

                    1. re: Andrea Cheng

                      I work in the neighborhood, and eat there about twice a week. I love it. Try the tofu with mixed vegetables and peas.

              2. nha trang on baxter is by far the best place for vietnamese in nyc. nuff said.