[NYC] Banh UWS

I’ve been looking forward to eating at Banh, but last night’s meal was a disappointment. I’d like to think it was an off night, or late in the evening, but that doesn’t change the experience.

We ordered the weekend special soft shell crab banh mi and the cha gio / crispy spring rolls (my absolute favorite Vietnamese dish). Thought about the banh guon too (mushrooms and pork rice rolls that they call dumplings) but my friend is pescatarian at the moment so I could hardly eat two apps plus a banh mi on my own, ha.

They came back a while later to say they were sold out of the crab, so we switched orders to the pork belly banh mi for me and the dry style vegetarian pho for my friend.

The vegetarian pho was “fine” as described. I was glad there was a vegetarian option (there are two - there’s also a vegan banh mi). It’s served deconstructed on a plate - noodles in the center, assorted grilled or pickled vegetables placed individually around, and a bowl of mushroom broth for dipping on the side.

The cha gio were disappointing in both flavor and texture. Refried, of course, but the oil pooled on the bottom of the plate was unappetizing. And the nuoc cham was just bad - all I could taste was salty.

My banh mi had good and bad aspects. The pork was tasty and there was plenty of it. But the bread was over-toasted (burnt on the edges) and dense for what it’s supposed to be. The assembly was just lacking. There was a patch of mayo, a patch of Maggi sauce, a few sticks of daikon and carrot, and two (yes, two) small stems of cilantro with a few leaves on each.

I’d like to think this was a Sunday-night tired-kitchen off meal (but I don’t know if that explains the cha gio and nuoc cham), so maybe I’ll try it one more time with some more interesting / less common dishes. Though I’m more inclined give Miss Saigon a try, just a block down.

This is disappointing. But I’m often disappointed in Vietnamese in Manhattan. I had a good plate of garlic noodles with softshell crab at Saigon Social (LES), and I used to go to Banh Mi Saigon when it was in the back of a jewelry store - that was good, too. But mostly I’ve just had serviceable pho and summer rolls.

I’ve been meaning to try Saigon Social but haven’t made it there yet.

Banh Mi are somewhat easier to find if you’re close to Chinatown.

Uptown, I’ve had some good dishes at the late lamented Saigon Grill on the UWS, and Vietnaam and Le Viet Cafe on the UES.

Le Colonial was good for fancy food. And Hanoi House - very good. I haven’t been to the uptown ones.

Oh yeah - forgot about Le Colonial - loved it! That was lovely, but a different style of meal. I did go to Hanoi House once but don’t remember it well enough.

I’m meaning to check out Madame Vo at some point, also.

Yes! All these places I’ve been eating at with my eyes on IG.

I haven’t had a lot of good experiences with Vietnamese food. Most bahn mi I’ve had ranged from passable to good. Nothing I would go out of the way for. The one exception to that was the bahn mi lunch special that David Chang served at Ma Peche. That was extraordinary. Sadly no longer an option. Also cost 3x a Chinatown version.

I didn’t get pho. Almost all versions I had were underwhelming. Watery broth that only got enlivened with a lot of hoisin and hot sauce. Then I tried it at Em Vietnamese. I suddenly discovered what I had been missing. Just so damn good. I don’t get there much as it’s inconvenient for me but whenever I am in Dumbo that’s where I go for the best Vietnamese I have had so far.

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You just reminded me that I had pretty good pho at The Pho 2 in the west 20s. The cha gio were pretty good too iirc.

I’ve had good to great banh mis in Manhattan chinatown, at no name places as well as the ones that get written up.

Bahn is our favorite vietnamese in nyc! We always start with the crispy turnip cake omelet which is one of my favorite bites in NYC. One of us orders the pho, the other a bahn mi and we’re good to go. I’ve also tried their bbq plate which I liked but didn’t love.

There was definitely some variation visit to visit and we have occasionally been disappointed but overall, given the dearth of good Vietnamese in NYC, we were thrilled to have it in the neighborhood.


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I would and have driven 20 miles for bahn mi. We often start our family manhattan chinatown crawls at bahn mi saigon where we’ll share two sandwiches between five people before moving on to the next spot.

One of my kids told me about a bahn mi place in queens, he said it’s great, I’ll try to get details and post back.


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