Baoguette Cafe Adds to NYC’s Lineup of Vietnamese Restaurants
Vietnamese restaurants in New York have enjoyed a surge of press and popularity of late, thanks in no small part to the Bahn Mi, that hopelessly addictive porky sandwich. And no one has jumped on the bandwagon with more gusto–and gustatory success–than Michael “Bao” Huynh, who rapidly and not so quietly has built himself quite a nice little Vietnamese street food empire.
Vietnamese restaurant domination is again being attempted by one of Huynh’s recent endeavors: the East Village Baoguette Cafe, a super-casual Bahn Mi joint located on a colorful stretch of St. Marks Place. Huynh now has four such upper-tier sandwich and noodle shops throughout the city… and this is in addition his spanking-new Lower East Side beer garden Bia Garden, and the opening-this-fall Midtown noodle shop O Bao.
New York Bahn Mi and More at the Baoguette Cafe
The Baoguette Cafe Bahn Mi, New York City style has several varieties available, but we went straight for the Classic: minced barbecue pork in a sweet glaze, peppery pork liver pate, ham-ish pork roll, pickled daikon radish and carrots, cucumber, cilantro and (because we requested “spicy”), jalapenos, all on a crackly baguette. Time Out New York called Huynh’s the best new Bahn Mi, NYC, 2009, and while it is certainly respectable (and, for only $5 a sandwich, extremely affordable), we found the balance of ingredients to be a little off: too much sweet, not enough tang and heat.
The Baoguette Cafe’s Bun Pork Chop and Shrimp, a remarkably generous bowl of vermicelli rice noodles topped with grilled glazed pork, six fat grilled shrimp, cucumbers, greens, crushed peanuts, and a side of the obligatory (in Vietnamese restaurants in NYC), lime fish sauce, which we immediately dumped all over anything. Again, this was definitely tasty, and a great deal for only $9, but if you’re really craving Bun, and feel like walking a few blocks west, you can get a better (albeit pricier) version at the Saigon Grill over on University Place.
Baoguette Cafe details
Baoguette Cafe is located on St. Marks Place between Second and Third Avenues, and is open from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday, and until 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. For a complete menu (they also serve several varieties of Pho, or noodle soup), take a look at the Baoguette Cafe website here.