The Good Fork and Ba Xuyen
Finally tried these two much discussed places these past couple of weeks and just wanted to give a report.
first, the good fork: I was really looking forward to my meal here and wanted to like it. Unfortunately, it was a real disappointment. The cocktails and app were good, but the mains really fell down. my friend's risotto was mushy on the outside, hard on the inside. the much vaunted steak and eggs had no char on the steak and an overwhelming sweetness from some kind of teriyaki type marinade. the kim chee fried rice alongside looked orange but had no discernable taste of kim chee. The two guys had burgers which they also said weren't good, which is a shame, as i could have been happy using the place as a cocktail, app and burger joint.
also, the decor didn't do much for me. and the service was a little slapdash, but unless it's a really nice restaurant i'm not too fussed about service. i'm just throwing it in there because i didn't like the place.
now on to the good stuff: Ba Xuyen is great! went this weekend and tried the BBQ sandwich, the tuna sandwich, and the meatball sandwich. The BBQ was my least fav--didn't really seem like BBQ, more like spam. The tuna was good and I would have fallen in love with it except that it wasn't quite as good as the sesame pancake with tuna at the dumpling house on eldridge street, which i consider to be an amazing tuna sandwich. Ah, but the meatball, the meatball was a revelation! what a delicious sandwich--soft, juicy meatballs glazed with a slightly sweet sauce, put in the bread with all the fixings. Can't wait to try the grilled pork next time. Also had a papaya shake, which was good, though i thought small for the price. Can't wait to go back!
Ba Xuyen: i love the #1 and the grilled pork, and the grilled pork is my husbands favorite. it's got peanuts and fried onions and lemongrass (?) on it and is really excellent. i thought the BBQ was OK, but haven't ventured beyond that yet.
could you describe the tuna more? is it canned tuna, but otherwise a bahn mi? (catholic husband, fish fridays for him, would be good to know about his options should i need bahn mi on a friday).
i got a meatball one from Thanh Da which neither of us liked, and ended up throwing the meat away ... not sure if that means we won't like the meatball, or if we just didn't like Thanh Da's version. their #1 seriously compete's with Ba Xuyen's though. depends on my mood though.
since sunset park is seriously out of my way, i usually hit both Ba Xuyen and Thanh Da and take 2 sandwiches from each and eat them over a couple of meals. my last visit at Thanh Da wasn't as good, but i'll give them another shot, because my first visit there was sublime and the ones in between were parallel with Ba Xuyen.
Ba Xuyen 4222 8th Ave
Thanh Da 6008 7th Ave
yes, it's very finely shredded, maionaisey canned tuna with pickled daikon in it and then all the usual stuff (pickles, cilantro, jalepenos, etc) on the sandwich.
the tuna salad itself is nothing special, but the whole makes a good sandwich, especially for your husband on fish fridays.
if you are closer to eldridge street in manhattan i also urge him the try the sesame pancake with tuna there. It's unbelievably good, tho the tuna salad has canned peas in it if that kind of thing turns you off. but go at off hours or be prepared to fight the mob and wait a little.
I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at good fork. To be honest, i couldn't disagree with you more. i have had only delightful meals there and the decor is my favorite in brooklyn. service can be spotty, i'll give you that. but it's a very homey atmosphere, (which i think is a strength). charming spot and great food. maybe give it another chance?