January 9, 2005

Sunset Park Vietnamese

Filed under: Food, Not Tech — Chris @ 8:27 pm

We’ve only just discovered the pleasures of Sunset Park. We’ve been following the consensus on Chowhound, so none of this will come as news to the culinarily tuned-in…

We’ve become obsessed with the Banh Mi at Ba Xuyen (4222 8th Ave near 43rd St). These are Vietnamese sandwiches: a combination of Asian meats, carrots and other fresh crunchy vegetables (think summer roll here), fresh serrano peppers, cilantro, and a sweet, garlicy aioli, served on a baguette (made with rice flour, I think, so it’s lighter and crispier than a French baguette). You will not believe how tasty these things are or how cheap ($3-4). The meats available are kind of mysterious: pork roll (Asian, not Italian), bbq pork, pate, meat balls (again, not Italian; think Thai fish balls with pork), and shredded pork. My only complaint is that I haven’t found a meat I’m entirely happy with. (Luckily, the pleasures of the sandwich are centered on the vegetables.) A flight of fancy: the ultimate Americanized Banh Mi might be made with barbecue pulled pork (aka smoked pork butt). Maybe somebody out there is doing this already? [UPDATE: I have now tried nearly everything on the menu and the grilled pork is by far the best meat on offer. It is tender and succulent and not-at-all frightening to this American’s palate, as some of the Asian cold cuts can be. I’m still fantasizing about some nice smoked butt, but grilled pork will do in the interim.]

Today, we had lunch at Gia Lam (4810 8th Ave near 48th St). Hilleary had the Pho with “eye of round” and spring rolls. I was hedging my bets and order a combination plate with a pork chop, shredded pork, and an egg cake. The pork chop was delicious. It was a thin slice of pork with a sweet and salty glaze similar to the flavor of a Chinese spare rib. It was served atop a pile of white rice and garnished with scallions. The egg cake was mushroomy and oniony, somewhere between a quiche and a meatloaf. Next time, I will get the pork chop by itself (only $3, as I recall).



Filed under: Food, Not Tech — Chris @ 8:04 pm

Hello. My name is Christopher Conway. I am a graduate student in Computer Science at Columbia University and I live in the Park Slope/Gowanus area of Brooklyn. I will use this blog to post occassional reviews of restaurants and other things that might be of interest to some small part of the public.

I’m starting this blog for the most part to test Brad DeLong‘s method of letting Google keep track of your life. Recently, I was at a restaurant (Coco Roco on 5th Ave around 6th St in Park Slope) that I had been to a handful of times over the last few years and I realized I had forgotten what I had tried there and how it was. So from now on (at least some of the time), I am going to blog my meals and use this blog archive in place of brain cells. It is unclear whether anyone in the world but me will find this interesting.

So, for Coco Roco:

  1. I am told that I have enjoyed the chicken in the past. It is incredibly cheap ($5 for a half a bird; most entrees are two or three times that).
  2. The ceviche is uniformly excellent.
  3. The sangria is quite tasty. Not too sweet and a little light on the fruit.
  4. The “Pescados con Tacu Tacu” (or something like that) — red snapper with yucca — was pretty terrible. The fish was dry and chewy. The yucca was chalky. A side of beans and rice was the only edible thing on the plate.
  5. Inka cola tastes like bubble gum. Yuck.
  6. I must try the chocolate empanada someday. It sounds wonderful.

Speaking of empanadas, look for lady with a cart on 5th Ave around 14th or 15th St on weekends. She sells delicious fresh empanadas with chicken, beef or cheese (queso blanco) for $1. It would be a deal at twice the price.

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