Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Location: 240 West 40th St.
People: MKang and myself
Feelings: Since it was such a nice day, we walked 10 blocks to the opening day of much anticipated Westside Boi location, Boi Noodles. Although it is a little far from our work, I still welcome one of the only Vietnamese lunch spots in the area. It is about time Pho and Banh Mi become popular lunch dishes in Midtown West.
I am not sure if it was because of the opening day, but the ordering process was quite flustering. Most customers looked confused and didn't know where to order or pay. We tried to order at the noodle station and were told to order at the pick up station instead. Upon receiving our order numbers, we had to walk towards the cashier by the front door and pay. We then had to go back to the pick up station with both receipts and order numbers in our hands to prove that we ordered and paid. I waited for my Vegetarian Pho ($7.35) for about 10 minutes with many other customers with much annoyance on their faces. This place reminded me of the DMV on a Friday afternoon.
I left the place much frustrated and thought I would never go back. Perhaps in 10 years when I have to renew my driver's license. And then, I had a sip of the broth and a bite of a shiitake mushroom. Cilantro, celery and shallots brought out very strong aroma and flavor, and the shiitake mushroom soaked up all the delicious broth. This soup was quite addictive!
MKang also enjoyed her Lemongrass Chicken Pho, but there was one thing that made both of us extremely frustrated: The rice noodles were cut up to tiny, tiny pieces. How are we supposed to eat them? I felt like I was eating alphabet soup.
Their dessert, Fresh Mango Coconut Tapioca ($2.76) was very refreshing and a perfect little summer treat, but MKang's Young Coconut Meat was "horrible, the texture was weird like crumbly jello."
It seems they could use some improvements, but their broth itself wants to make me go back. Despite their DMV influenced service and chopped up noodles, sometimes it only takes delicious broth to grab customers' attention. Oh, the power of umami.