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weinoo

Tet Vietnamese Restaurant

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This is a newly opened (last week some time, I believe) Vietnamese restaurant (A & 5th) from the owner of Nam in Tribeca and O'Mai in Chelsea, as well as the now defunct Cyclo, which was on 1st Avenue in the east village. Wife and I had dinner last night, and early indications are pretty good,imo. We tried a couple of the apps (crispy spring rolls and beef salad) and two entrees, and they were far better than the standard fare at what passes for Vietnamese food at most places these days. Also, probably more traditional than what is going on at B'un - if indeed anything is still going on there.

I had always liked Cyclo (especially the monkfish dish served with crispy something or others), so it's nice to have this kind of food back in the neighborhood. And, it's another option for after those 1 or 2 drinks at PDT or Death & Co.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Mmm, that's pretty close to me. I'll try and remember to post about it once I go there.


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We had dinner here last night, and as I was eating of of our dishes, I said to my wife, "Why don't we come here more often?" And she said, "Well, post about it." The food is quite good, reasonably priced, and the service is excellent.

If this isn't known as one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Manhattan, it really needs to be. It actually tastes more Vietnamese than Chinese, which is what most Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown taste like to me. They really have a Vietnamese chef. So, for dinner last night, we decided just to order a bunch of the smaller dishes (listed separately, iirc, as starters and appetizers). We had the grilled, marinated pork baby back ribs (meaty and tasty, and a bit chewy), the green papaya and shrimp salad (an excellent rendition), a coconut rice flour crepe that gets messily wrapped in lettuce leaves with mint and cilantro, sauteed greens topped with garlic and dried anchovies, a wok-seared beef salad with bamboo and spicy lime dressing, a couple of jasmine rices and a beer - all for $53.

Not crowded enough for what it is (I mean, people are spilling out of the sushi place, Takahachi, which just doesn't do it for me), I would hope that a place putting out this quality of food at these prices is able to make a real go of it.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Needed an interesting but still safe restaurant for a bunch of people last night and Tet fit the bill quite well. We were quite a large group and were able to get a reservation just a couple days in advance; good for us, not so good for the largely empty restaurant.

I don't think the food here is particularly mind blowing, but it's solid and fairly priced. This isn't Chinatown cheap, but still quite affordable. For a pretty light meal, we spent about $25/person. I thought the small plates were better than the noodles and mains. We really liked the ribs and the coconut crepe with shrimp and chicken. The tempura fried vegetables were like little fries and surprisingly addictive.

The mains were, to me, a bit one-note, not usually the case with Southeast Asian cuisines. We had the beef in a spiced brown gravy and the chilean sea bass. They were tasty, just not explosive and complex. The pho was pretty solid, but one can get versions just as good for half the price. There weren't any of the good bits either--tendon, fatty brisket--which was probably good for my group but was a bit sad for me.

Desserts, especially the sorbets and ice creams, felt a bit like throwaways. I wanted to walk over to Milk Bar but I couldn't convince the lazy masses to follow. As far as the limited dessert menu goes, the banana tart and tapioca soup were pretty good, even if both were too mushy.

This report sounds overly negative, I think, because I would certainly go back and that doesn't really come through. I think Tet lacks the excitement of trendier restaurants and the more visceral nature of Chinatown ones. I know many people aren't sold on "high-end" Vietnamese food, and I'm still on the fence. Perhaps a visit to Mai House is in order to further explore the merits of this subset of Vietnamese cooking.

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Good post and right on, Bryan. Especially when you say:

I think Tet lacks the excitement of trendier restaurants and the more visceral nature of Chinatown ones. I know many people aren't sold on "high-end" Vietnamese food, and I'm still on the fence. Perhaps a visit to Mai House is in order to further explore the merits of this subset of Vietnamese cooking.

My more philosophical question about a restaurant like this, which was probably putting out more exciting/tasty food when they first opened, is would they have not continued along that path of exciting, delicious Vietnamese fare if they had ever gotten crowded, or did they somewhere along the way decide to (or have to) go more bland, blah, safe, or even boring in order to try and get more crowded?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I've been to Tet a few times - most of the menu is pretty good, and better than most Vietnamese in NY... but, the one dish that shines is their Bun Cha, which is the closest I've had to when I had it in Hanoi... it's not a perfect replica, but it's pretty darn close... they actually use the pork patties, rather than just a dried out, thin grilled piece of pork chop. The sauce is pretty authentic also... To make it a bit better, imho, is that they need more greens for dipping (lettuce plus herbs), plus to make it perfect, they need slices of pork belly and some kind of pork loin slice in addition to the patties...

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