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Upscale Vietnamese?

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

    14 Replies
    1. re: rachelmle

      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: kathryn

          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

          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

            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

              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

                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

            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

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

              1. re: piccola

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

                1. re: kathryn

                  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

              Saigon Grill is not good Vietnamese food.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                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. 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. 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

                  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

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

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

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: a_and_w

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

                              1. re: pikawicca

                                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. 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. 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.