212 East 10th St (2nd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
Quick post for a place that deserves a quick bite. Madame Vo is one of two new vietnamese restaurants to open in East Village this year (the other is Hanoi House). I promise to try Hanoi House soon to do a comparison, but first up we have my review of Madame Vo. Full disclosure, I actually got the two mixed up because my instafeed was blowing up with photos from both places. I wanted to go to the one that had the pho with a massive bone marrow in the bone – turns out that one is Hanoi House…
Nonetheless, I went to Madame Vo twice within two weeks.
The vietnamese coffee ($4) tastes like chilled, melted coffee ice cream. It was good, very tasty, but definitely more of a dessert than a beverage.
The summer rolls ($9) with shrimp, vermicelli, lettuce, chive, and basil are high quality. The rice paper skin was not overly soft or hard – perfectly chewy. Shrimp was cooked just right – tasted just lightly poached. It’s a bit pricey for what you get, but definitely higher quality than the usual summer roll.
LAW hates soup noodles (it’s odd) so he got the grilled pork chops ($16) which came with a side of crab cakes and rice. Given all the buzz around the pho, I was pretty certain my dish would win. Looking back, LAW may have won this one. That pork chop was so damn delicious. It had this scallion oil all over it. It was perfectly marinated and charred. Paired with a side of daikon + carrot pickles, it was tres tasty. Crab cake was kinda random. A weird pairing in my opinion. I would rather them get rid of it and lower the price of the dish. Continue reading
Saxon + Parole
(between Bleecker St & 1st St)
New York, NY 10012
“New American.” What does that even mean? When I think New American, I think of foods like mashed potatoes with truffle oil and roasted turkey with kumquat cranberry sauce (which Saxon + Parole actually had on their Thanksgiving menu). Wikipedia has a great definition:
New American cuisine is a term for upscale, contemporary cooking served primarily in restaurants in the United States. Combining flavors from America’s melting pot with traditional techniques, New American cuisine includes ethnic twists on old standbys, Old World peasant dishes made from luxury American ingredients and molecular gastronomy.
Old World peasant dishes made from luxury ingredients with a little spherification here and there. Sounds about right. As you can probably tell, I’m not the biggest fan of New American. I’m always down for a new take on a traditional food (see Mission Chinese) but when stuff is added just for the sake of making it seem more upscale, it gets lame. Anyway, not saying Saxon + Parole is lame at all, because it was actually pretty good. I just had a bad feeling about the place when I walked in and saw the stable-esque decor, minus the smell of horses. It’s where bobos (bourgeois bohemian) like to put on their birkenstocks and sip on their free trade coffee bean espresso after a decadent but “humble” meal. Continue reading