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May 26, 2009 07:09 PM

Best Vietnamese/Brooklyn

Hello--looking for a great spot for a giant take out order--want dozens of banh mi, summer rolls, whatever travels well, for a party. Any tips? I think my favorite Sunset Park spot is long gone.

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  1. If your favorite spot was Ba Xuyen (used to be on 7th Ave. ca. 60th st.) it just moved, to 8th ave. & 42nd St.

    Ba Xuyen
    4222 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

    2 Replies
    1. re: scooter

      Um, its been at the 8th St. location for at least 2 years now, maybe more.
      Its wonderful and I recommend it highly for the banh mi. I personally find the summer rolls rather dry. Their drinks are very good too, but I dont know how well they would last for a picnic.

      1. re: jen kalb

        It's been on 8th Ave. for at least 5-6 years. Some of the best banh mi in the city. Their dac biet and their grilled pork sandwiches are great. Their tuna salad sandwich would be a good alternative for meat-phobic guests. Only thing, banh mi travel O.K., but they do lose a little something the longer they wait after being toasted up. They have pastries and non-banh mi savory items; different items depending on what's left that day. I've had tasty fried spring rolls (cha gio) there (as opposed to summer rolls). I agree drinks are good, but icy stuff would melt, and you probably don't want sweetened condensed milky drinks sitting around too long either.

        Anyway, I third this as probably your best bet in terms of quality. By the way, we drive there all the time from Ditmas Park; doesn't take long. I'd call ahead or drop by with plenty of advance notice to make sure they can do it, though, as it's a smallish operation with usually only 2 or 3 folks at the counter at a time, making each banh mi to order.

    2. I've picked up 12 banh mi for a party from ba xuyen, cut them each into 4 (or each half into 2) and they were a hit; people killed it.

      19 Replies
      1. re: bigjeff

        The banh mi meets the slider - nice!

        1. re: squid kun

          thanh da on 7th and 60th has excellent banh mi, but also a very large menu of other vietnamese food. its much larger than ba xuyen. ba xuyen is great -- but youre pretty much limited to sandwiches.

          1. re: Wet Towel

            ya I'd love to try that place, it looks quite nice and very cute. any comparison to Thanh Da II or just a size thing? I like very much the banh mi at the 8th ave. location.

            1. re: bigjeff

              Any difference between Thanh Da on 7th and 60th, and the one close to 8th Ave around 57th or so? They are related, but I've only been to the later, a small sandwich shop. They're good, but I prefer Ba Xuyen.

              1. re: pitu

                i'll second that assessment.

              2. re: bigjeff

                headed to Thanh Da I (on 7th ave) for some of their noodle soups; been seeing lots of pics/reviews of their bun bo hue, their bun rieu, and also banh canh cua ( any other thoughts/picks?

                1. re: bigjeff

                  just got back from sunset park and the report on thanh da I? ehhh, it was aight.

                  the banh canh cua (crab paste soup with pig foot and rice vermicelli) looked amazing in the flickr picture above (and was rec'd by the waitress when we asked if we shouldn't try a different rice vermicelli soup) but in the end, it was different, but alright. a small bowl with barely enough broth, mostly noodles (thick, verging on overcooked); a half a crab and pig rib/foot pieces, scallions, fried garlic and a lime to squeeze. portion was good but just not that deep a flavor (greasy tho). we also ordered banh beo (steamed rice cake things) topped with scallion, dried pork/shrimp and a weird mung-bean-like paste dolloped; substantial and filling but in the end, bland. nice thing if you're in the mood for it for $3.50 tho; must top with hoisin and hot sauce. and, summer rolls with pieces of bbq pork (meatball-like) instead of shrimp. tasty and fresh.

                  still have high hopes for the place as a contender for good vietnamese food; I'd like to try their other noodle soups and ultimately their pho; banh mi are still $3.75 at this joint and I was going to get a sardine one but maybe for next time.

                  location is on 7th avenue near 61st street.

                  Thanh Da
                  6008 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                  1. re: bigjeff

                    Not so many places in NY do Bun Bo Hue and Bun Rieu, but I think Tu Do in Chinatown is one of the best bets for both.

                    1. re: Peter Cherches

                      I *think* I had the bun rieu at New Tu Do; not sure but it was definitely a delicious pho-alternative with pork, seafood, bits of fried pork fat, lettuce in a rich and slightly sweet soup. I think it was named something else, but damn good. I always forget the name.

                      1. re: bigjeff

                        are you talking about the new place on the west side of canal that I am assuming is the successor to Pho To Do which used to be on the east side? That was our go to place for vietnamese on Saturday nights for many years. Id like to know if the new place is the same folks.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          if you mean canal instead of bowery, yup, they moved across the street. however, I personally can't confirm that it's the same exact owners although a handful of the servers are. a friend who has been to both thinks it is the same people, just moved across the street (not sure of managers old and new, etc. but seems to be a 40ish husband and wife usually). I've had many enjoyable meals there but I heard from the same friend that her last few meals have slipped.

                          1. re: bigjeff

                            Same owners, just moved. Bun Rieu Cua has a tomato based soup, crab or crab/egg cake, pork and bun (the mei fun type noodle, though some places may use the more spaghetti shaped rice noodle). Almost like a Manhattan clam chowder character to the soup. Cua is crab, not sure what rieu means. I was last there close to a year ago and it was great, but nothing more recent. Amazing version of ga xao xa ot (chicken with lemongrass & chili).

                            1. re: Peter Cherches

                              next time I go, I gotta make sure of the name of the soup I had; the closest I came is this, the hu thieu noodle soup.


                              1. re: bigjeff

                                Hu Tieu is a different noodle and a different broth (clear). There's My Tho style (from Mekong Delta) and Nam Vang ("Cambodian style"), which has mixed seafood and fish balls/cakes. A number of places also make Nam Vang style with Pho noodles (Nha Trang, in Chinatown, for instance, and prob. Bo Ky).

                                1. re: Peter Cherches

                                  ya the one I'm thinking of is definitely glass or cellophane noodles, not rice noodle or wheat noodle. i never had the bun rieu one (although I had that in sunset park at thanh da I and I wasn't that impressed).

                            2. re: bigjeff

                              you mean did I mean bowery rather than canal and the answer is yes I did. Sounds like the same people so we will give it a try again.
                              thanks, and to Peter for the dish info below. I dont think we have ever tried their chicken with lemon grass. Its a shame that the range of dishes served in these NY viet restaurants is so narrow.

            2. re: bigjeff

              Don't know if you do it this way - but when I've made banh mi at home and then sliced them up for "canapes", I found it easiest to put tooth picks in, and then slice between the toothpicks. I haven't been to Ba Xuyen for a while, but I enjoyed the sardine sandwich in particular.

              1. re: bigjeff

                I do that too - very popular, and they taste good hours after the toastiness has gone cold.
                You can also ask for untoasted bread if you can heat them up later yourself.

                Try calling a few days in advance so they can order more bread. All these places run out of bread by the end of the day (which is a good thing of course...but if you're getting DOZENS...)

                1. re: bigjeff

                  they will gladly cut the bahn mi into 3 (what we prefer) or 4 pieces, saving you the trouble. the people at Ba Xuyen are so nice that after an initial trial run Ive skipped Thanh Da pretty much permanently.

                2. If you're looking beyond Banh Mi (Ba Xuen being a no-brainer), the recently opened Pho Hoai III, 8th between 54th & 55th, East SIde (I is in Bay Ridge and II on Ave. U.) is now my favorite Vietnamese full menu restaurant in Sunset Park. Possibly the best cha gio (fried spring rolls) I've had in the city. Maybe not hot food for your party, but salads?


                  15 Replies
                  1. re: Peter Cherches

                    That's perfect Peter thanks--I do need salads and some non-sandwich items and thats close by. I keep hearing mixed reviews on the Pho Hoais but you've been to this one? What party friendly items do you suggest?
                    I'll get the basics at Ba Xuyen stilll.

                    1. re: ditmas

                      I've had the dishes with lemongrass & chili (xao xa ot), spring rolls, and bun with grilled pork--can't remember what else, but if you're looking for cold items, I don't have any recs.

                      A dumpling-like dish is banh cuon--something between a rice noodle roll & a dumpling, served topped with cha lua (Vietnamese baloney).

                    2. re: Peter Cherches

                      one other detail--because of the kids at the party we're eager to have dumplings. I've seen them at Vietnamese places before though I think its not really native to the cuisine--any thoughts on that?

                      1. re: ditmas

                        Im not sure that the Vietnamese dumplings I have seen will fill your kids bill. but there is a chinese dumpling place on 48th St just E. of 8th Ave that could provide what you need - they make both steamed and fried dumplings in a number of different varieties.. the issue could be temperature - dumplings do not improve when they are cooled. I doubt that kids would like the "vietnamese baloney" on the bahn cuon i find it tasteless and dry.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          I love cha lua. I've never found it either tasteless or dry. I guess it varies by producer. You're right that both steamed dumplings and banh cuon will dry out, and the oil will congeal in fried dumplings and they'll be pretty unappealing.

                          1. re: Peter Cherches

                            Tastes differ, I guess. Most of the samples ive had simply lack flavor and the texture is not juicy. Ba Xuyen makes several dishes that include it and Im always disappointed. One of the things I always loved about the old An Dong bahn mi was the roast pork with its good porky flavor that they included in their sandwiches rather than this bland coldcut..

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Regarding OP looking for large order that travels: none of the fried or steamed Vietnamese (or Chinese) things will really work, especially for broader kid/party tastes. The initial notion was bahn mi and summer rolls and those are about the extent of it. Summer rolls could conceivably be cut in two or four as well. Ba Xuyen doesn't need my help (though I'll put in for their deserts) but I'll make my usual lonely mention of Pho Hoai on Avenue U and hope that the new one on 8th is as good.

                              The only other thing I can think of that might be applicable is the beef pancake from Kai Feng Fu on 48th. Those can certainly be cut up as well. I assume you'd have to get there with plenty of lead time to drop a large order on them.

                              1. re: noisejoke

                                that beef pancake is absolutely great but do you think little kids would go for it?

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  If it were up to me, I'd enjoy catering for adults with the Vietnamese, and do something easier to buy, serve and with which to placate the kids.

                                2. re: noisejoke

                                  I haven't been to Hoai on U, but I've been to the other 2 and both are good.

                            2. re: jen kalb

                              The Chinese dumpling place on 48th St. is called Kai Feng Fu. I like the dumplings a lot. Funny, I just did a Ba Xuyen and Kai Feng Fu double trip this past weekend (before seeing this thread). I recommend Kai Feng Fu. About as good as any of the dollar dumpling joints in Manhattan (not the tenderest skin, but thin and pliable enough; tasty pork filling, with chives, I think). You could buy a pack of 35 frozen dumplings for $5. As I'm sure you know, they're very easy to fry up at home. You could get a couple of bags and fry them up as needed.

                              1. re: hhhippo

                                OK--Hey thanks everyone today is the day.
                                I think I'm going with Ba Xuyen (my order is in!) and suppliment with some salads etc from Pho Hoai III---and a boat load of Kai Feng Fu dumplings. Now I'm scheming on how to doctor them to be more vietnamese (throw a pound of shredded cilantro and some vinigrette on them?)
                                BTW getting some vietnamese 33 beer at Eagle for the fun of it though I know its not so hot.
                                Thanks again

                                1. re: ditmas

                                  "BTW getting some vietnamese 33 beer at Eagle for the fun of it though I know its not so hot."

                                  Hey, 33 beer good! The lighter beers go perfectly with Asian foods. If you want to provide some variety buy some Sapporo to go along with the 33.

                                2. re: hhhippo

                                  HEY EVERYONE I FORGOT TO REPORT BACK--ALL WENT GREAT (THOUGH I OVER ORDERED AND HAD ABOUT 15 Banh MI left over--I stir fried the contents the next day with plenty of hot fish sauce). Thanks to everyone for the advice!

                                  1. re: ditmas

                                    I would've loved to eat those leftovers!

                          2. ditmas:
                            I'd recommend Nicky's on Atlantic Ave. to you as that was my go-to banh mi place, but someone recently told me it's gone downhill. I haven't been there in a year or 2. Has anyone tried this recently? Is it true? I still like the one in the East Village.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: nooyawka

                              Had one there yesterday- lovely staff, mediocre sandwich.

                              1. re: addictedtolunch

                                totally agree - Nicky's on Atlantic is just okay. I've tried it a couple of times this year, will hold out for Ba Xuyen in the future (or Baogette on St Marks or one of the Chinatown places in Manhattan)