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Boerum Hill to be Banh Mi central? Nicky's is coming...

  • l

On the way to lunch today I noticed a sign on Atlantic Avenue, on the north side between Smith and Hoyt (closer to Smith) announcing the arrival of Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches, no doubt an off-shoot of the East Village restaurant of the same name. With Hanco's just three blocks away on Bergen, will we hit banh mi critical mass soon? (Unfortunately for Hanco's, I tend to enjoy Nicky's a bit better and - being that it's closer to my apartment - will probably frequent them instead.)

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  1. Whoa!

    While Nicky's would be closer to me as well - the nice folks @ Hanco, and their trainside location will probably still have me picking up sandwiches there frequently.

    I love people bringing affordable, interesting food to the 'hood. Soul Spot & Banh Mi on the same block is great!

    4 Replies
    1. re: EJC

      If only Nicky's would aim for lower Smith to service us Carroll Gardens folk.

      Walking along Smith this morning heralds lots of changes. Looks like next to the imminent Stinky Cheese, there will be a French patisserie called Provence en Boite. Also, further along there were little signs in the windows of the old Village 247. The name was Spanish, so could be either Spanish or South American food -- nice change of pace. And finally, looks like Pepe, nee' Pepe Viola, is no more. There was butcher paper all over the windows.

      PS. Is F Stop bagels on 9th St/Smith closed? Drove by quickly yesterday and noticed lights out and the F removed from the orange circle. They had the best bagels in the neighborhood -- a sore loss.

      1. re: Pupster

        Also opening on Smith Street is a place called Ki Sushi. I want to say that the old Village 247 place is going to be a resto called Padilla or something like that. (I may be wrong, but it definitely has "-illa" in it.) The Pepe Viola folks seem to have moved out to the forever-doomed 1 Station Square spot in Forest Hills Gardens in Queens.

        1. re: Pupster

          Provence en Boite? A couple of weeks ago, someone on CH said that their French neighbors were opening a place that's moving into the corner spot where Balucci (the Indian restaurant) was -- is this it? Well, that would be great news, since this place was one of the reasons we went to Bay Ridge (3rd Ave.)to eat for years. We knew the couple who owned it lived in Boerum Hill and tried to convince them to move years ago, when Smith St. started growing. Then they closed last year and we wondered what happened. Anyone know?

          1. re: Steve R.

            That's it. Really nice baguettes, that's all I have had.

      2. We were in the East Village today and stopped in Nicky's for a pork chop sandwich. The nice counter lady let me know that their Brooklyn spot would open on Saturday!

        3 Replies
        1. re: EJC

          That's great news! They've had the windows papered in Chinese newspapers, so the progress has been unnoticed. It was a really dreadful shallow space before - I wonder if they'll go for a floor-through floorplan. A bunch of seats and a garden would make this place a great addition to the neighborhood.

          1. re: EJC

            Anyone know if Nicky's opened yet? Am hoping to try it for lunch tomorrow (Thursday).

            1. re: parkslopemama

              It wasn't open as of 10 minutes ago (I just walked by).

          2. funny thing, the NYC banh mi world is not without its share of controversy. did reviews of about a dozen places, during which time i learned that Hanco's actually "borrowed" their style from Nicky's dad--their now-former friend, and the guy from An Dong (now closed) in Brooklyn.

            if you've tried both Nicky's and Hancos, the charge makes sense. nor is this an isolated instance (Saigon Banh Mi *closely* guards their roast pork recipe).

            for full Banh Mi reports & trivia, check The Porkchop Express...

            1. Spoke to the owner of Nicky's last night. He said that the opening will not take place this coming Saturday, but rather in the next 2 weeks.

              1. Just walked by last night - the sign is up, the dining room looks ready to go (it's a nice shade of orange) and hopefully it'll be good to go this weekend...

                3 Replies
                1. re: lambretta76

                  Hey Lambretta76,

                  Do you have the address? I walked down Atlantic Avenue, between Smith and Hoyt, and could not find it. What am I missing (besides good eyesight)??

                  1. re: lambretta76

                    As of 10am Saturday morning (now) there is still paper covering the door and a "Coming Soon" sign in the window. Not impossible for this to come down and for the doors to open today but.....

                  2. North side of the Avenue - a couple of doors in from the new hotel/condo going in on the corner...

                    1. "Also, further along there were little signs in the windows of the old Village 247. The name was Spanish, so could be either Spanish or South American food -- nice change of pace."

                      "I want to say that the old Village 247 place is going to be a resto called Padilla or something like that. (I may be wrong, but it definitely has "-illa" in it.)"

                      Walked by today and this place is open. Sapodilla. I was totally wrong in my guess, as it's not Spanish at all but Caribbean. Limited menu, but several jerks, roti and a curried goat.

                      1. Yeah - the Sapodilla thing confuses me, as there's the usually empty Jamaican-ish restaurant a block up the street. Where's the logic in that? "Hmmm... that place hardly has any customers - we can open up a similar restaurant a block away and we'll steal two of their four covers per night! Cha ching!"

                        1. For some reason, going into Cafe Dore has never ocurred to me. But Sapodilla, at the 247 spot might, if they're using the back yard & have decent food. Any idea?

                          1. I've got to say, I think Hanco's is FAR superior to Nicky's. I just had Nicky's for the first time the other day and was not impressed. The sandwich was incredibly dry, the bread overly toasted, and the spice quotient was off the charts -- and I like it spicy. Hanco's, in my opinion, has the sweet-hot-crunchy-soft balance required of the sandwich down perfectly. I really hope they don't suffer because of Nicky's incursion into their territory. Go Hanco's!

                            1. Any word on an opening date for Nicky's? I walked by this afternoon and the windows are still covered in newspaper.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: VeggieBooty

                                I walked by again today, and the newspaper is gone but it's still not open. I am impatient!

                              2. three weeks minimum. permit issues, from what I understand.

                                –The Porkchop Express

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: porktuesday

                                  BTW the phone number I gave above, which was listed on online directories for a while, is wrong. It went from "temporarily disconnected' to just "disconnected." No new listing yet.

                                2. I admit to not having heard of Nicky's before reading this thread. But, we have been going to Hanco's for a while now and I think we will continue to. Their sandwiches and spring rolls are delicious and evenly balanced in terms of flavor, etc. Equally as important, the staff there is extrememly nice, so we don't see any reason to desert them.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Matt M.

                                    Since I didn't know where Hanco's was, I looked it up on Superpages.com:

                                    Hancos Bubble Tea & Vietnamese Sandwich
                                    85 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
                                    (718) 858-6818

                                    What's the cross street? Smith?

                                  2. walked by on tues. night and store was lit up.
                                    asked the guy in there when they were opening. he said they were having their inspection this week and hope to be open by this weekend.
                                    roast pork, here i come!

                                    1. It opened this AM. I forgot about that and I had already eaten lunch. Maybe dinner...

                                      FWIW - I walked by at 1:15 this afternoon and they were open and serving diners - I might stop by for an iced coffee.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lambretta76

                                        Nicky's is open!
                                        I was taking the long way home and was rewarded with a banh mi for late lunch. All the staff were happy to see me, and the one other customer at 4ish.
                                        Good sandwich. Very spicy jalapenos, lots of veggies, good amount of ground pork, fresh bread. Very reasonable price.

                                        I think I still like Saigon in Manhattan the best, but I like Nicky's and Hanco's.

                                      2. How much were the sandwiches?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jdf

                                          $3.95 for the greatest hits (dac biet, chicken, etc.), $4.50 for the portobello and pork chop versions.

                                        2. The phone number is 718.855.8838 and they are doing delivery.

                                          1. The "clasic" banh mi was excellent, the bread wonderfully crusty. Now that I'm working near Park Row and occasionally walking home to Park Slope over the bridge, this is a great stop-off place on the way home.


                                            1. Had a Nicky's classic today that was indeed excellent. I have had Hanco's classics that were excellent and a couple that were just good---a bit dry and a bit sparse. I'd give a very slight nod to the excellent Hanco's---can't quite put my finger on it but the flavors & textures were just a bit more married into a perfect litle unit. The neightborhood is lucky to have them both. I just hope that Nicky's existence doesn't hurt Hanco. I would hold that against Nicky's if it did.

                                              1. I've been eating at Hanco's since it opened and stopped by Nicky's a few times. But I just finally did the side by side, bite by bite Hanco's/Nicky's spicy classic comparison meal. (Yep, it's an awesome, if filling, experience.) My vote also goes to Hanco's. The flavor combination is terrific, texture lovely and the bread crusty. Nicky's ain't bad either and I'll probably munch there occasionally for a change-up but, to my palate, the flavor combo is more dynamic and balanced at Hanco's.
                                                I'm thrilled that the neighborhood seems capable of supporting both establishments.