Friday, June 17, 2005

In a mood for Vietnamese

Vietnamese food is hot in my books these days. I can't seem to let go my desire for spicy foods despite the soaring temperatures in Manhattan. I've found that summer rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce, noodles in vegetarian broth, grilled vegetables wih soy-chili dressing and many other Vietnamese dishes are nice and light for the summer while having just the perfect amount of spice to excite my taste buds.

Two restaurants that I've recently discovered are:

37 Union Sq W
Btwn 16th & 17th St

Bao Noodles
391 2nd Avenue
(212) 725-7770

Republic is a trendy Pan-Asian spot that has lots of options for vegetarians. The restaurant can be very noisy despite the high ceilings. It's usually packed at all hours but the open seating plan allows for a quick turn of tables so you never have to wait more than ten minutes. I usually get their veggie broth soup with noodles, different types of tofu, spinach and mushrooms. Their grilled eggplant dish is also delicious.

Bao Noodles is neighbourhood kinda place, perfect when you're in a mellow mood and just want some good food and nothing more. The flickering candles, thick wood tables (like those at a park) and hand-painted murals create a cozy atmosphere. I loved the vegetable spring rolls which had a nice kick from green chilis. My main dish was lemongrass tofu with noodles which was also yummy.

Other Vietnamese restaurants I'm looking forward to checking out this summer are Saigon Grill and Monsoon.


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