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Upscale Vietnamese?

pikawicca Sep 15, 2007 02:02 PM

Will be in town next month for a few days, and am craving a stellar Vietnamese dining experience. Does Manhattan have anything like SF's Slanted Door? I'm looking for exquisite food, served in pleasant (not divey) surroundings.

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  1. r
    rachelmle RE: pikawicca Sep 15, 2007 02:03 PM

    It's not expensive, but Saigon Grill outside of Union Square is actually quite tasty!

    14 Replies
    1. re: rachelmle
      Lau RE: rachelmle Sep 15, 2007 03:57 PM

      i dont know...that place is right next to my apt and i tried to like it, but its really not good...i mean its nicer than the places in ctown for sure, but the food is just blehhhh and the places in ctown are much better (not that the viet food in ctown is all that good either)

      if you're looking for more upscale...Bao 111 on Ave C is fairly upscale although maybe id consider it more trendy as opposed to truly upscale and its sort of fusion viet type food (generally not a fan, but i think the food is decent though not awesome, but WAY better than Saigon Grill)

      also there might be some places in tribeca, but i cant remember off the top of my head

      1. re: Lau
        kathryn RE: Lau Sep 15, 2007 07:53 PM

        Mai House?

        1. re: kathryn
          squid kun RE: kathryn Sep 16, 2007 03:17 AM

          Still haven't tried it, but this would've been my suggestion ... http://www.chow.com/digest/2357

          Mai House
          186 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013

        2. re: Lau
          small h RE: Lau Sep 16, 2007 06:27 AM

          I think Bao Noodles on 2nd Ave. is actually a bit better than Bao 111.

          Agree that Saigon Grill would be a poor choice - it's Empire Szechuan level food.

          What about Le Colonial on 57th St.?

          1. re: small h
            MMRuth RE: small h Sep 16, 2007 06:46 AM

            It's been ages since I've been to Le Colonial, but the food was always v. good, albeit expensive. Beautiful room.

            1. re: MMRuth
              KTinNYC RE: MMRuth Sep 16, 2007 08:48 AM

              It's been a long time since I was last at Le Colonial and I agree the room is beautiful but the food is tailored for the upscale ladies that lunch crowd (I actually saw a woman wearing white gloves...), meaning the flavors were neutered and tamed. I wouldn't recommend Le Colonial.

              1. re: KTinNYC
                MMRuth RE: KTinNYC Sep 16, 2007 09:05 AM

                I agree about it being tamed etc. - and in rereading, noted that the OP was asking for stellar and upscale Vietnamese - I don't think we have that in Manhattan.

          2. re: Lau
            Jel212 RE: Lau Sep 17, 2007 02:47 PM

            I actually think the chicken ga sate at Saigon Grill (not dive, but not at all fancy) is one of the best chicken dishes out there, ever. I also adore their summer rolls (have not yet found comparable ones!) their crystal shrimp dumplings, and their la sa ga. Incomparable.

            I just went to Slanted Door for the first time, my first time in SF. It was wonderful.

            1. re: Jel212
              piccola RE: Jel212 Sep 17, 2007 04:37 PM

              I agree about the summer rolls - and their veg hot'n sour soup is pretty awesome too.

              1. re: piccola
                rosie209 RE: piccola Sep 17, 2007 05:32 PM

                I agree w/ you folks - the ga sate, bo luc lac, and summer rolls are great. Quite dee-lish and quite inexpensive.

              2. re: Jel212
                kathryn RE: Jel212 Sep 18, 2007 08:29 AM

                Have you tried the summer rolls at Safran?


                1. re: kathryn
                  lchang RE: kathryn Sep 18, 2007 08:43 AM

                  I've had some good meals at Safran. I didn't love their rolls, but I did love the green papaya/beef salad and luc loc beef. Some of the best I've had. Had a great fried fish dish there too.

            2. re: rachelmle
              KTinNYC RE: rachelmle Sep 15, 2007 05:43 PM

              Saigon Grill is not good Vietnamese food.

              1. re: KTinNYC
                FattyDumplin RE: KTinNYC Sep 16, 2007 02:15 PM

                that place is so overrated. it is not good at all. maybe it does the trick in a bind...

                big fan of bao noodles. reasonably priced, good food, very casual and never a need for a reservation.

                just tried le colonial the other day. its definitely a scene, but food is very overpriced and just decent. a couple dishes sparkle, but many miss.

                aside from japanese food, there seems to be a real dearth of quality asian food. maybe i'm missing better places. maybe i'm spoiled from my visits to LA. whatever it is, i'm not that impressed with korean, thai, vietnamese, chinese in the city. and taiwanese, which i really crave, fuhgedaboutit.

            3. o
              Olive123 RE: pikawicca Sep 16, 2007 02:53 PM

              I have not actually been in over a year, but I quite enjoyed Nam in Tribeca in the past. It can get crowded and noisy, but I still like the food and service.

              1. l
                lchang RE: pikawicca Sep 16, 2007 04:10 PM

                I would check out Mai House, Omai, Nam, Bao 111, and, while good, I think Slanted Door beats them all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: lchang
                  MMRuth RE: lchang Sep 16, 2007 04:51 PM

                  Omai - is that the one on 9th Avenue? If so - I'd forgotten about it, and it is quite nice Vietnamese food in a place with a nice hip/upscalish vibe, though I do note that others have complained about the service there.

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    lchang RE: MMRuth Sep 16, 2007 07:50 PM

                    Yes, in Chelsea on 9th Ave. It's a nice little place, and I actually believe it is affiliated with Nam. I've only had one meal there, but I recall enjoying it very much.

                  2. re: lchang
                    MinhLikesFood RE: lchang Sep 17, 2007 01:38 PM

                    Second Bao 111, www.bao111.com.

                  3. v
                    venezuelan RE: pikawicca Sep 16, 2007 05:49 PM

                    How about Me Kong? On King and 6th avenue..it's not really all that upscale but it isn't cheap either. Good fried squid and Seitan dishes. The service can be pretty slow at times.

                    1. f
                      foodwhisperer RE: pikawicca Sep 16, 2007 05:54 PM

                      One that has been around for awhile and they still pack them in is Indochine on Lafayette St near Astor Pl. Nice crowd , nice atmosphere, good food. Nam on reade St. in tribeca is upscale vietnamese a few good dishes i like the monksfish appetizer. Lastly, Mai House its a nice atmosphere the food isnt as good as Indochine or Nam, but it's ok. the menu is a little limited and they took the frogleg lollypops off the menu which was my favorite .

                      1. pikawicca RE: pikawicca Sep 16, 2007 05:57 PM

                        We're going to make a reservation at Mai House. It looks lovely, and the menu is interesting. Will report back. Thanks for all of the responses; I never travel without checking with CH these days.

                        1. c
                          CobblerNYC RE: pikawicca Sep 17, 2007 04:05 PM

                          I keep wondering about Saju, but there don't seem to be many reports. Anyone been?

                          1. a_and_w RE: pikawicca Sep 17, 2007 04:20 PM

                            Sadly, I never found anything remotely like Slanted Door in NYC.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: a_and_w
                              pikawicca RE: a_and_w Sep 17, 2007 05:21 PM

                              Well, I'm feeling pretty discouraged at this point . Should I give up and focus on my next ethnic love, Lebanese?

                              1. re: pikawicca
                                ow77 RE: pikawicca Sep 17, 2007 10:47 PM

                                Never been to either but if you're desperate, check out lollipop on 61st st. It's an upscale lounge serving Vietnamese tapas.
                                Tanoreen in Bay Ridge is supposed to be an excellent Palestinian (which is very similar to Lebanese) but definitely not upscale.
                                There were a few queries about Lebanese and Levantine food recently. Check the outer boroughs board as well.

                            2. j
                              jsgjewels RE: pikawicca Sep 18, 2007 07:27 AM

                              What about Saju, the new place in midtown. Can't say I've been yet, but I've heard a few good things on this board.

                              1. b
                                basilbelly RE: pikawicca Sep 18, 2007 08:30 AM

                                i really recommend vietcafe, despite the boring name. all of the tables and decor were flown in from vietnam. the menu is delicious. i recommend the vietnamese steak frites, and the jumbo shrimp curry. i doubt you'll leave disappointed. plus, i always recommend female chefs :-) the website and name really don't do the place justice.

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