This restaurant is literally 2 blocks from my apartment and yet, for some reason, it’s taken me 4+ years of living here to try it out. Last night was a great opportunity for it, out with a friend in super hot weather and we wanted something on the lighter/healthier side than Italian, Mexican or burgers- which is what else is close by.
Although there was plenty of outdoor seating available, we opted for the air-conditioned inside and were seated immediately. The decor is warm with maroons and burgundies, rich fabrics and golden lights.
The waiter immediately brought out menus, yummy, crunchy, rice crackers thingys with a sweet dipping sauce and filled our water glasses. The service remained fast, polite and attentive throughout our meal.
We decided to share a watercress salad with papaya and ginger dressing that was a perfect starter. Light, refreshing and not drowned in dressing.
Next we shared 2 entrees. One was the chicken with mango, cashew nuts and mushrooms and the other was the shrimp vermicelli with basil, mushrooms, ginger, snow peas, onions, chilies and peanuts. The chicken dish was pretty good- not amazing, but fine. The shrimp dish was WAY too spicy, we had specifically asked for it mild, and we had to send it back. They promptly re-made it and brought out a new one for us and we really enjoyed this dish. The flavors all went together very nicely, the ingredients were fresh and fragrant, and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. One thing I really love about Vietnamese food is that it’s really not greasy at all and there aren’t any super heavy sauces. You can really taste the clean flavor of each ingredient and on a really hot day, that’s exactly what I wanted.
Overall, I’d say this place is pretty good. Not fantastic, but for a local place it’s a good option. I don’t know if I’d really consider it to be authentic Vietnamese, I think it’s more the Upper East Side watered-down version, but again, worth a visit if you live up here.