Monday, March 19, 2012

BaoBQ 03-17-2012

Location: 229 1st Ave.
Time: 1pm
People: RB, CK and myself

Feelings: After CK's Japanese playgroup in the East Village, we usually enjoy a quiet brunch in the area. However, today was St. Patrick's Day. At 1pm under the bright sunlight, the usually laid back East Village was amateur night (or afternoon) filled with intoxicated individuals treating the neighborhood like an amusement park. People were actually waiting in line to enter mediocre pubs. We quickly ran to BaoBQ, the new Vietnamese street food endeavor by Michael "Bao" Huynh, the man behind Baoghette, Bao Noodles, and many other Baos throughout the city. As suspected, the place was empty-- the locals were obviously staying in to avoid the screaming green people and ordering take outs from BaoBQ. Smart choice.

This cute and casual spot with shabby chic flair has a counter service as well as relaxed yet punctual table service. The adorable lady behind the counter was friendly and courteous, and she even gave us a bit of delicious home made soft serve for a taste. She was also paying great attention to CK, which we appreciated so we could enjoy our meal.

The menu is a collection of tasty Asian street food like radish cake, pork belly satay, bulgogi, Thai style rotisserie chicken as well as Vietnamese staples, banh mi and bun. As my Bun Cha Ca ($9, with cat fish satay) arrived, I was taken back by the large portion. With fresh fish, herbs and cold noodles, this is a great value. It was overall straightforward and well balanced dish with meatiness of the fish and refreshing herbaceous bowl of noodles.

RB's Ga Nuong chicken had a really nice char to the skin and was moist and flavorful inside. Although it says "spicy" on the menu, he did need to add quite a bit of ground chilies on top to satisfy his spicy urges.

Their chili lemonade had an interesting mixture of spicy, sweet and sour, and I thoroughly enjoyed the new flavor experience.

Overall, BaoBQ offers solid cheap eats that are excellent for quick bites and take out. I am envious of East Village residents--Mr. Bao, don't you think it's time to start expanding to Brooklyn? BoCoCa to be exact?

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