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Jan 18, 2010 11:30 AM

Which Brooklyn Vietnamese is best?

Pho Tay Ho in Bensonhurst?
Pho Hoai on 4th and 86th or on Ave. U?
Or Nha Trang on 8th and 59th?

Mixed reviews here and elsewhere, and I'm wondering which to try. Is anyone feeling authoritative? Please help.

Location doesn't matter--I'm driving.

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  1. I am partial to the Pho Hoai in Gravesend - been going there for probably close to 15 years now and it is still the best compared to the other outpost and Pho Tay Ho. BUT - they are pretty interchangeable. In fact when Pho Tay Ho popped up I remember thinking that it was just another outpost of Pho Hoai - it basically the same, ditto the other location of Pho Hoai to the original.

    I have not been to the Nha Trang - I found the manhattan location to be just ok when I went a few years ago and have not been back. Others have reported that it is quite good in Brooklyn however.

    9 Replies
    1. re: dhs

      I'm pretty sure the Sunset Park Nha Trang is not connected with the Chinatown ones.

      1. re: dhs

        All the ones I have been to over the years have been pretty much comparably decent . Tho I have thought I liked one or another better from time to time, I cant say that any stand out as more excellent. and their menus are pretty standardized. I cant remember all the connections but i believe that Pho Tay Ho is connected to the Sunset Park Nha Trang Palace. At one time I liked a place called Ti-An in the mid-50s but its been a while since we made the rounds of these places, and perhaps you can add some current opinions to the mix..

        In the end, they are cheap enough and good enough that you might as well follow your own nose.

        1. re: jen kalb

          I'd say that they really vary by dish. I think Tay Ho is best for Pho, Hoai best for spring rolls and stir fried dishes & curries.

          I think Ti-An now is called variously Cho-Lon and Bik-Bay, but no longer Ti-An. I go there when I'm in diet mode for their salads and grilled chicken or pork chops. They also do a good Tom Yum spin on the hot & sour fish soup (as a separate menu item).

          1. re: Peter Cherches

            What about Bep and Silent H both in Williamsburg.

            I was curious about trying these...

            1. re: dougnash

              They are not in the same league as the others mentioned in this thread. Smaller menus with liberties taken to get a hip menu would be my generalization. I like Silent H better than Bep but have only been to both twice.

              1. re: dhs

                There is one more in that area you (and I) might want to check out. Ah Nhua is a new Vietnamese restaurant and take out Bahn Mi joint right dab in the middle of hipster central. The Bahn Mi I picked up today was quite serviceable but not cheap ($5.00 is the going price in Billyburg it is seems). The restaurant next door looked like it had a very nice interior, trendy and in line with what you would expect for that location. Prices match too. I have not had anything from there beyond the take out Bahn Mi but will go for lunch one day since i work around there. They have been open since mid summer just haven't had a chance to get in there yet. Hopefully it is good and will make a nice addition to the neighborhood.

            2. re: Peter Cherches

              Yes, Cho Lon is the most recent name I noted, thanks for the correction.
              We usually go for the grilled pork or beef with the tiny noodles for wrapping with herbs in lettuce , #1pho, often bo lu lac (I think its called, the tender beef cubes in butter) occasionally lemon grass chicken, shrimp or green veg in oyster sauce. Since these are simple dishes, I usually judge them by the quantity and variety of herbs provided with the wrap-ups and pho and the quantity of meat (soppy lettuce is a definite negative).

              1. re: jen kalb

                But this is exactly my problem with the vietnamese places in sunset park. i always order the grilled meat with the rice thread squares and the quality can vary enormously from one visit to the next at all of them.

                One visit the meat will be perfectly grilled with a good fresh assortment of herbs and crisp lettuce and the next visit the meat will be flabby and only some wilted cilantro will be given, along with brown lettuce.

                I feel like one has to know the market days of these places, or something, in order to know when to go to get fresh produce and well-cooked meat.

        2. I agree with the consensus here. Go to the closest one of the three you mentioned.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bob Martinez

            Wow, i'm a little surprised no one mentioned Gia Lam on 8th Ave. There are two--one on the west side of 9th at around 49th, and one on the same side around 54th. The 54th St one might have been the first Vietnamese restaurant to show up on 8th ave about 10 years ago. I have been to both locations many, many times, and I find it quite consistent and good. In fact, everything is good: great Pho, Bun, chicken w/ curry sauce, imperial spring rolls, summer rolls, and rice plates.

            1. re: ckl

              I've been to Gia Lam and thought it was fine.

          2. I've been to Pho Tay Ho and Pho Hoai on Avenue U and I don't think either place is that special. So maybe give Nha Trang a try? There's also a place on 18th Ave in Bensonhurst, close to World Tong, that I haven't tried -- has anyone been there?