Help me banh mi.
July 1, 2013 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good Vietnamese restaurant in Manhattan that's open during the middle of the day this coming Saturday?

Hello hive mind,

A friend's birthday is this coming Saturday. She got tickets to see She & Him in Central Park at 6:00 PM as a gift and invited me along. I offered to take her out to dinner as part of the birthday celebration, and she said yes.

Recently, she expressed a craving for Vietnamese food. I thought it would be nice to take her to a Vietnamese restaurant, and after asking around a little I found a place that looks like it would fit the bill. (This is the place. I promise this is not a viral marketing stunt.)

I saw her yesterday and we were talking a bit about plans for this Saturday. She mentioned that she was thinking of catching an early train into Manhattan (from Suffolk County) and we could do a late lunch/early dinner before the show. Last night I was checking Co Ba's website to see what time they serve lunch versus dinner...and that's when I noticed that they're closed from 2:30-5:30. So I'm not sure that's going to work now, unless she'd be up for grabbing dinner after the show.

I figure I should come up with a back up plan, and I'd like to find another Vietnamese place if at all possible, so: does anyone know of something that would fit the bill? It doesn't have to be super fancy, but I'd prefer something sitdown.

I wonder if it's too much of a longshot to find a place like this that'll be open during the hours I need, but I'd rather rely on recommendations here versus having to sort through Yelp. Here's hoping!
posted by andrewcilento to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pho Pasteur, although it's pretty far downtown. Pros: Cheap, huge menu, yummy, open all the time. Cons: No banh mi (as I recall), decor is utilitarian. Disclaimer: I haven't been there in a year or so, so call to doublecheck details.
posted by gwint at 7:05 AM on July 1, 2013

Co Ba is very good. Here is a list of good Vietnamese. In addition, Num Pang is a good sandwich place near grand central.
posted by shothotbot at 7:08 AM on July 1, 2013

Right next door to Pho Pasteur, is Thai Son, open 10:30-10:30 every day and Vietnamese despite the name. And judging from the similarities of the web sites, I'm starting to suspect Thai Son and Pho Pasteur and that third place on the same block might all really be the same restaurant. Anyway, it's not fancy but I like it.

Near there is a tiny hole-in-the-wall place, Sau Voi, which was the first place I ever saw banh mi, more than 10 years ago, before it started to get popularized outside of asian neighborhoods in NYC.
posted by moonmilk at 7:13 AM on July 1, 2013

Thai Son is super good. I just tried Cong Ly, on Hester St, and liked it as well. Not fancy but also pretty tasty.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:33 AM on July 1, 2013

Response by poster: Has anyone been to Nha Trang? Seems like it might be perfect.
posted by andrewcilento at 7:44 AM on July 1, 2013

Saigon on Broome makes my favorite banh mi in the city. For general Vietnamese most choices in NYC are pretty mediocre but I like Nam Son on Grand and there's a new place on Chrystie with snazzy decor, but I forget the name. It has a train inside. (yes like a locomotive, not a typo).
posted by pravit at 7:45 AM on July 1, 2013

Best answer: Sao Mai in the East Village is open continuously throughout the day.
posted by kathryn at 8:14 AM on July 1, 2013

Has anyone been to Nha Trang?

I came in to recommend Nha Trang. Been there many times and it's never disappointed.
posted by saladin at 8:35 AM on July 1, 2013

Nha Trang Centre is pretty good though I like Thai Son a little more. NTC is a bit more sit-down-restauranty, if I recall correctly, so that may suit you better. My fellow-foodie friend swears by Sao Mai but I've never tried it.
posted by mlle valentine at 8:59 AM on July 1, 2013

Big fan of Saigon Shack on Macdougal.
posted by windbox at 10:52 AM on July 1, 2013

I love Nha Trang Centre. Always for Pho though, seldom for Banh Mi.
posted by Borborygmus at 12:08 PM on July 1, 2013

Response by poster: Haha, I should have maybe mentioned that I'm not necessarily looking for a bahn mi place. Just thought it was a fun little title.
posted by andrewcilento at 12:23 PM on July 1, 2013

Response by poster: So we ended up at Sao Mai (thanks for the recommendation, kathryn) and really enjoyed it. Lots of good suggestions in here, though, so I imagine there will be other trips into Manhattan for Vietnamese food. Thanks everyone!
posted by andrewcilento at 10:35 AM on July 7, 2013

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