>> NY Noodles (Bún Bò Huế Đức Chương Midnite) | Eat the World NYC

16 February 2019

NY Noodles (Bún Bò Huế Đức Chương Midnite)


After Rangoon Spoon unfortunately was unable to survive, it did not take long for the same space in Gravesend to start seeing construction and come to life as a new restaurant. The inside underwent a bit of rearranging but a lot of the same guts are there, while the cuisine has been swapped to a bún bò Huế specialist originally from Houston called Đức Chương that here goes by the name of NY Noodles. The opening day was set for 20 January 2019, unfortunately the exact date I left the city for two weeks and therefore apologies for the late report.

At first I had my doubts about the connection. Were they using the graphics and name from the Houston restaurant? A quick call to the "Midnite" location in Houston (one of several now) confirmed their relation though, a startling turn of events for New York City Vietnamese. Houston is one of the best Vietnamese cities in the country and having their influence would surely be a step in the right direction.

The owner here used to work in one of the branches in Houston, and was a pleasant presence throughout our meal, smiling and making sure all the dishes were enjoyed. It is nice to see Vietnamese menus that stray from the standard rules and concentrate on a few things, much like nearby standouts Little Saigon Pearl and Em Vietnamese.

Despite being fairly late into the evening, the dinner got off to a very good start with fresh gỏi cuốn ($4.99, above), "traditionally" translated as "summer rolls" but here given the season of spring. No matter, all the right amounts of shrimp and pork, fresh greens and vermicelli noodles were all wrapped up and splendid, showing none of the signs of being made earlier in the day like is common with night orders. The hoisin/peanut/garlic dip could not have been more pleasant.

The star of the show in Houston, and the reason everyone comes to the restaurant is for the bún bò Huế ($8.99 small, below), the famous noodle bowls from central Vietnamese city of Huế. The noodles are reminiscent of spaghetti, if a bowl of Vietnamese noodles can be, but swim in a broth that combines all the pleasures of all realms of taste, sour, spicy, salty, and umami. When it was placed on the table in front of me, an excitement was palpable.

That balance of taste, as well as a sharp kick of lemongrass and chile just seemed all a bit out of whack. After adding squeezes of lime and a few spoonfuls of red pepper sauce from one of the table jars, it got close, but I could not put my hand on what was absent. The broth had pork blood and was weighed down by meaty fatty bones of pig leg but lacked beef flavor and Vietnamese ham slices.

Like the Houston spots, a plate of nice greens to add came out looking fresh and good, and just like there the purple cabbage was the base rather than a pile of boring bean sprouts like is custom for New York City. These all helped immensely, we can only hope they do not decide to scale back in the future to cut costs.

One pleasant surprise on the menu was the bún thịt nướng chả giò ($8.99, below), a vermicelli dish served at room temperature with fried spring rolls and pork chop. The "chop" ended up being salty thin slices rather than the usual sweetened marinade, but otherwise it is about as top quality as it gets here. The chả giò (fried spring rolls) in particular are lovely, and the side of nước chấm is much better than usual. I think (possibly accidentally) New York City has its go to bún spot now.

I will add a report in a month or two to see the progress and check in the place. For now, go with tempered expectations but welcome a little part of Houston Vietnamese to Brooklyn.

NY Noodles (Bún Bò Huế Đức Chư Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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