Bao Noodles
391 Second Ave (22/23), NYC

I have been wanting to try some good Vietnamese food for a long time. My only other experiences with the cuisine have been at Penang, Saigon Grill and Vermicelli, all on the UES and all not very authentic, from what I could tell. As soon as saw the facade of Bao Noodles, I immediately liked it. The window has the lettering and vertical type of a French bistro and the red paint on the frame is bold. The vibe inside is not like a typical staid Chinese restaurant, but laid-back and filled with interesting looking people. Everything on the menu looked enticing and we finally settled on two different types of pho and a sandwich to share. I had the beef stew pho which was filled with chunks of tender beef and slippery noodles. Spud went out on a limb and had pho with shrimp, squid, quail eggs and noodles. They were both deeply satisfying and counteracted the freezing weather outside. We are now pho fans. We didn’t need more, but of course we had to try a sandwich. I have been hearing a lot about these sandwiches, and although the typical is pate and meat, we got a chicken one, because we were scheduled for pate later in the day (life is tough). It was flavorful and light with red onion, carrot, lettuce and a typical vinegar sauce. It was tasty and will get me to try other Vietnamese sandwiches, like Nicky’s, quite soon. Bao deserves a Golden Bonzone. The food was interesting, cheap, tasty and flavorful, the atmosphere was enjoyable to boot. I will definitely return.