I know, guys. I keep trying. Good Vietnamese in Manhattan - it's my golden goose !
Inside tips led me to Co Ba in Chelsea. A nondescript red awning along 18th St and 9th Ave, the place is pretty minimalist, but warm, with a series of conical straw hats lined along the wall to emit some true Vietnamese ambience.
Shared a bowl of beef pho as an appetizer. Actually pretty tasty if it wasn't so salty. If they just diluted it with maybe a half cup of hot water, this pho might be on point ! Fixins are a bit sparse too, so hopefully you're not too into that classic bean sprout-basil action.
For lunch, the menu is a bit limited, but a fun option is the banh uot thit nuong, featuring chunks of chewy rice noodles ("housemade rice ravioli") topped with crispy onions, grilled pork, and Vietnamese ham / sausage. Drizzled with some chili-lime sauce, it makes a fun, light and surprisingly filling dish.
I've been craving some vermicelli noodles of late, so I ordered the bun ga nuong, the classic vermicelli bowl with marinated chicken breast, greens, fat, salty peanuts and chili-lime sauce. The noodles were a touch musty, but otherwise, this dish hit the spot. I gotta start making this at home. I can see myself eating this all summer long.
Han's Nonsensical Rating: Not worth going out of your way for, but an okay option if you're in the area. Order a glass of their kumquat limeade for a refreshing way to wash down that Vietnamese cuisine!
110 9th Ave
New York, NY