Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pho finally in HK: ChaPa's Vietnamese Noodles and Grill

Hurrah! Pho has arrived in Midtown West!  There’s been an absence of pho around here, but lo and behold, as I was doing my weekly run to Stiles Farmers Market (that’s how I discovered Danji as well), I caught sight of the ChaPa’s Vietnamese Noodles and Grill sign.  Every day after that, I impatiently awaited the grand opening.

That day finally arrived – here’s what I had:

Sweet Potato Shrimp Fritters, Lightly battered deep-fried sweet potato and shrimp served with lettuce, pickled carrots, and daikon.  Served with Vietnamese fish sauce.

As many of you know, I hold sweet potatoes close to my heart, so when I saw this on the appetizer menu, I had to have it.  I think I may have overhyped it a bit in my head.  It was good, but nothing special.  Imagine two large sweet potato waffle fries with a piece of shrimp in the middle of each one.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fried sweet potatoes and shrimp, but I guess I was expecting something more.    

Even though I wanted to try the pho, I have to confess, the day I went to ChaPa’s I had a strong craving for banh mi.  I went on a Saturday for lunch and arrived to find out bad news - they don’t offer banh mi on the weekends!  I was slightly depressed after that, but that feeling didn’t last for long as I was soon comforted by the arrival of my steaming hot bowl of pho =).

Beef Pho – Pho Bo, Brisket rare beef


I was so happy when I took my first sip of the broth.  Both the broth and beef were perfect and so soothing for a cold winter day.  My only complaint: where were the squirt bottles of hoisin sauce???   My pho arrived with only a tiny dish of hoisin sauce, and I have to say, I felt like I had to carefully ration off my sauce.  I like to have that bottle on hand so I can refill at my leisure.  I know, minor gripe, plus I’m probably a bit overzealous with my sauce intake.       

Ambience: Pure and simple.  White walls and wooden tables. Great place to grab a casual lunch.

Score: 3 out of 5 piggiesI’ve got my new go-to place for pho now!  Now I just need to make my way there for lunch during a weekday so I can try the banh mi (unless ChaPa’s adds it to their standard menu)!

ChaPa’s Noodles and Grill
314 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 956-9300


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