There are plenty of Vietnamese joints in Chinatown, and one you MUST check out is Xe Lua on Mulberry Street. It is one of the best around!
I stopped in last week with two Chinatown foodie companions and we had a fabulous lunch. The decor of this place is very tropical/Hawaiian. Cute and kitschy, a tad humorous, like you are on a honeymoon. I was waiting for someone to lei me.
Anywhoosies, the food here is great, and some of the best in town! Start with an order of the crunchy and delicious spring rolls ($4), you won't be disappointed.
Crispy squid ($10) with a side of a special avocado dipping sauce was splendid and tasty.
The house special pho ($6.50) that my companions ordered was excellent. They both raved about the wonderful broth flavor. The "pho aficionado" at my table said it was one of the best he has had!
The NYC FOODIE, who loves to try new things, ordered frog legs with chili lemongrass sauce ($12). Now, I have had frog legs before, and these were fantastic! The meat was tender and juicy, the sauce was sweet and spicy. It was just a perfect and wonderful dish. Frog legs is definitely an underutilized meat, and I think it is great. Tastes like a mix between chicken and fish, try some at Xe Lua, and you'll thank me later!
So for some of the best Vietnamese in Chinatown, and all of NYC, Xe Lua is the spot. You might not get lei'd, but you'll be smiling throughout your meal, for sure.
86 Mulberry Street (bet. Canal and Bayard)
New York, NY 10013