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Jul 19, 1999 09:34 AM

Vietnamese in Carroll Gardens

  • t

Anyone try yet the regrettably-named Uncle Pho?
Frenchy food with a Vietnamese tinge and decor, owned
by the Patois people.

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  1. Was just at Patois. Haven't tried the new Vietnamese
    down the street, but have heard good things. I did,
    however, just eat at a wonderful Vietnamese in
    Chinatown (sorry, I know, not "outer boroughs") called
    something like Thai Hgoc Son(???). They had something
    which I had only come across before in Vietnam & Laos
    (the couintries): a sandwich made with pate, cucumber,
    cilantro, etc., on french bread. Scrumptious!

    (Well, I'll be. Here I am wandering through chowhound,
    and who do I come across...? How are things? How is
    HarperCollins? I just started working for A Common
    Reader. Love to hear from you.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: josh samton

      Dear Josh,
      Those wonderful things with bread, pate, cilantro,
      etc. are called banh mi. I know this because John
      Thorne just wrote a long essay, "Banh Mi and Me" in
      his newsletter Simple Cooking, of which Jim has
      recently written. This is a wonderful essay about his
      stumbling on a good thing that he loved and lovingly
      described but at first did not even know what it was
      called, his experiences with sales clerks, variations
      in the thing, his finding its name, his analyzing its
      goodness and playing with what defines it and what is
      good and more. I don't know if it is posted on the
      simple cooking (newsletter title) website but I'll put
      is url below(beginning with the name of his 1st book),
      and you can subscribe to s.c. there, which is worth it
      and john and matt (his wife/partner) can surely use
      more subscribers. Various entertaining writings --
      each issue centered on a topic, like grits, with j+m's
      information and their research, i.e., experiences with
      cooking and eating it in various ways, and with side
      pieces like a continuing serial (cereal??) discussing
      good diner food through the medium of characters like
      the "Professor", the cook, and notes from readers,
      very intelligent and taste-interested, much like
      chowhounds in values. You can get a sample on s.c.
      website -- e.g., descriptions of his savory
      breakfasts for 3 months, a .
      Also apropos of banh mi, for about four years I've
      been carrying around a note in my lefax list of eating
      opportunities the name of Tan Phong Supermarket, on
      the Bowery, as having wonderful banh mi, especially
      the roast pork one. The Supermarket is a super market
      with a variety of stalls, not a supermarket. I keep
      forgetting it when I'm in Chinatown, but your note may
      inspire me and I will post, probably in "Manhattan".
      Also, if you get there before me, I hope you'll post.

      1. re: tobey klass

        Tried Uncle Pho's this
        weekend. Very crowded and
        noisy, but didn't have to wait
        too long. Did not notice that
        right now it is cash only!! Do
        note. They were very nice
        though and whisked our credit
        card over to Patois.
        We started with their
        Vietnamese spring rolls and
        hacked chicken. The spring
        rolls were very good, though
        very oily, dipping sauce was
        plumby and good; the hacked
        chicken was all right but a
        surprise. Was expecting
        chinese version I guess, and
        this was warm instead of cold,
        and cut into large pieces rather
        than shreded. More like fried
        chicken and a lot for an
        For the main course we had
        curried salmon steamed in
        banana leaves. Very spicey,
        and made a nice contrast with
        the smooth cooling well
        cooked salmon. I had the stir
        fried duck. Like Patois,
        portions are enormous --
        unnecessarily large. Lots of
        duck, chinese vegatables and
        yellowwax beans?? in fact
        most anything you can think of.
        Couldn't eat half of it. But the
        sauce was wonderful, and the
        chunks of duck were generous
        and tastey.

        The waiter forgot to bring the
        rice, and on the whole service
        is very uneven. A number of
        mixups all through dinner. It's
        obviously "thee" place on
        Smith st. at the moment and
        every 20 something with black
        clothes must be seen at the
        scene. The food is good, but it
        would be good to wait for
        some really bad weather, and
        then go over when it's far less
        crowded. Will certainly return,
        with cash in my pocket, and if
        there is no line, go on in. If
        there's a line, there are a lot of
        other places nearby.