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Popular Vietnamese Restaurants in New York

8 places · 1 day
Jackson Cung ·3 months ago
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The city’s pho and bánh mì scene is diverse enough these days to support dozens of places offering high- and low-end versions, filled with everything from heritage-breed cold cuts to mystery meat. What’s been missing until now, for the most part, have been intensely personal takes on Vietnamese food by immigrant chefs trying to recreate a piece of their hometown, or by fine-dining exiles looking to do something more nourishing. Thanks to the broader circulation of once-rare ingredients like sawtooth and lotus leaves, it appears that a new era of congeelike chao, turmeric-oil-stained catfish, and pillowy, empanada-like bánh gi is upon us. Here are the best Vietnamese restaurants in New York.

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1. Hanoi House

Hanoi House

Hanoi House, Saint Marks Place, New York, NY,...
Vietnamese-American chef John Nguyen has parlayed his experience working at the District by Hannah An in Los Angeles, and with Lincoln’s Jonathan Benno, into something new: One night’s special of the rice-noodle bún dish arrives glossed with scallion oil, with golf-ball-size lamb meatballs cured and grilled in the style of nem nuong. Frogs’ legs in a tempura-like batter are served to steam with pickled chiles and crushed peanuts, and root-vegetable curry unfurls in alternately fiery and earthy directions. Emulsified brown butter and fish sauce commingle at the base of a sautéed-morning-glory side dish with capers, while oxtail and marrow bones infuse with brisket to profound effect in shimmering pho broth. It’s the kind of place that inspires multiple visits because you want to know how it’ll evolve.
2. Madame Vo

Madame Vo

Madame Vo, East 10th Street, New York, NY, US...
Motown plays at this ambitious new spot, which has fresh coconuts galore and Instagram-ready snacks like bò bía, rice-paper rolls taut with shrimp, jícama, and sausage. Brisket steeps 24 hours in pho stock, amplifying the pho’s bone-brothiness, which diners can supercharge with roasted oxtail. Specials include bún riêu, a hard-to-find tomato-based soup laden with minced pork and crab.
3. Bunker

Bunker Vietnamese

Bunker Vietnamese, Scott Avenue, Brooklyn, NY...
The bánh xèo are as crisp as ever at this Cheap Eats favorite, now rebooted in a cavernous, eye-popping space that’s equal parts postapocalyptic skate park and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The mushrooms for the Havarti bánh mì are cultivated at a fungi start-up next door, while the pork belly in the bún chả comes from heritage-breed pigs.
4. District Saigon

District Saigon

District Saigon, Broadway, Queens, NY, USA
A slather-your-own bánh mì arrives in the deconstructed form: pâté, root-vegetable pickles, and sliced baguette. Plump, betel-leaf-wrapped torpedoes of ground lamb are mounted on skewers over a fussy thatch of plant matter, while soy-toned wings come with taro fries. The wood-and-herb-smoked brisket pho, with its deeply flavored broth, plays it the most traditional.
5. Nightingale 9
329 Smith St., nr. President St., Carroll Gardens; 347-689-4699
Gowanus-greenhouse basil and rounds of ’nduja — the soft, spreadable Calabrese sausage — may seem odd pairings for fresh rice noodles and the pork shoulder chef-owner Rob Newton crisps in lard for his “very loose” interpretation of bún bò Huế. Some might label his cooking fusion, but Newton’s attention to detail and passion for the cuisine translate into true flavors that imbue the entire menu.
Bricolage

Bricolage

Bricolage, 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Gutsier options like hog maw can be found alongside more common offerings like papaya salad with sawtooth at this 2-year-old spot founded by Slanted Door expats, who’ve hit their stride with hearty home-style clay-pot braises fashioned thoughtfully with domestic ingredients like Georgia shrimp and Vidalia onion.
Gutsier options like hog maw can be found alongside more common offerings like papaya salad with sawtooth at this 2-year-old spot founded by Slanted Door expats, who’ve hit their stride with hearty home-style clay-pot braises fashioned thoughtfully with domestic ingredients like Georgia shrimp and Vidalia onion.
Chao Chao
171 Ave. A, nr. 11th St.; 212-475-3171
Stephan Brezinsky gussies up his wings with fish-sauce caramel, and serves slawlike papaya salad, made creamy with herby tamarind dressing. There’s a reason why dishes like slow-cooked beef cheeks with coconut and a judicious lump of shrimp paste seem like family recipes: Kimxuan, Brezinsky’s mother and inspiration, swings by daily to make the spring rolls.
Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen

Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen

Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen, Irving Avenue, Bro...
Charred and smoked brisket, crunchy raw shallot, and a feathery vapor trail of star anise make for irrepressibly great pho at this pint-size storefront. Summer rolls with a choice of meaty tofu, lemongrass chicken, or fat slices of that brisket are a recent but stellar addition to Lucy’s correspondingly tiny menu.
Pho Vietnam 87
87 Chrystie St., nr. Hester St.; 212-775-0999
Possibly owing to its broad menu and bonkers train motif, this galley like Chinatown restaurant has become something of a restaurant-industry standby. The pho xe lua arrives in an immense bowl appointed with flank, tripe, and raw eye of round, and it happens to be one of the best bargains in town.
Saigon Shack

Saigon Shack

Saigon Shack, MacDougal Street, New York, NY,...
Fried-fish and crab-cake options swerve the bánh mì lineup straight into fusion-ish po’boy territory, and purists scoff that pho comes with jalapeños, instead of with more-canonical serranos. But what it lacks in finesse, the Shack makes up for in reliable portions and speed, hence the permanent line of NYU students out the door.
Fried-fish and crab-cake options swerve the bánh mì lineup straight into fusion-ish po’boy territory, and purists scoff that pho comes with jalapeños, instead of with more-canonical serranos. But what it lacks in finesse, the Shack makes up for in reliable portions and speed, hence the permanent line of NYU students out the door.
Thanh Da

Thanh Da

Thanh Da, 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Summer rolls stuffed with jumbo tiger shrimp and deep bowls of aromatic pho — topped with rosy-red, top-round slices — touch down on nearly every table. Dozens of cheap, unfancy noodle dishes, bedecked with everything from curried chicken to grilled squid, round out the menu.
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