One perk of living in downtown NYC is ready access to cheap and good pho.  For the uninitiated, pho is Vietnamese noodle soup, with rice noodles, mint, basil, beansprouts and usually beef.  I usually head to what I refer to as “Pho Row” – a stretch of 5-6 Vietnamese restaurants on the outskirts of Chinatown.  Here,  a big bowl of steamy, hearty pho will keep your belly full for about $5 – not too shabby!  On a recent chilly night, I visited one of my faves of the “row” – Nha Trang.

Of course at that bargain price, utensils and napkins are strictly self-serve only, as you can see here:


And menus are not only handed out (make sure you don’t get the “American style” version) but displayed under the glass-top tables:


My eating buddy and I started with cha gio, or Vietnamese spring rolls:

nha_trang-3-1750925Served with a sweet and tangy dipping sauce, these spring rolls were crispy, satisfyingly greasy, and served piping hot. Delicious!

I ordered my usual – pho bo vien – or pho with beef meatballs (first picture).  The noodles were pleasantly chewy, the broth savory and flavorful, and the meatballs the perfect texture (soft but tenacious. Yes, there is a tenacious texture).  I slurped away to my heart’s content.

My eating buddy the chicken and vegetable dish over rice:

nha_trang-5-5947853Which had a flavor that was more reminiscent of Chinese food than Vietnamese cuisine (we were on the outskirts of Chinatown, after all), but was still delectable.  This plate was gone in no time.

If you’re looking for inexpensive, satisfying Vietnamese food in the NYC area, definitely head down to Baxter Street where you’ll find Nha Trang and several other Vietnamese restaurants (I’m also a fan of Thai Son a few doors down).  For less than $20, you and an eating buddy will be stuffed!

Cheap and good.

Nha Trang

87 Baxter St. (btw Bayard and Walker)