86 Mulberry Street between Canal and Bayard
$18 for two, without drinks, without tip
♥ ♥ ♥
Anthony Bourdain once said that most people know that Vietnamese food is good but they just don’t have a clue how good. In New York City, it’s hard to find a really good Vietnamese place. I used to have a few favorite spots in Chinatown, but lately, they’ve gotten lazy about making the pho. You rarely get that beefy taste in the broth anymore.
The pho at Xe Lua not only taste beefy, they are gigantic. For less than $6, it is a good lunch deal which will surely warm the senses. Their broth oozes with flavor; it’s full, rich and tasty. The rice dishes are promising, too. The chicken served with mixed vegetables in lemongrass sauce tasted as good as it sounded. The crispy squid shared as an appetizer is indeed crispy. Even though it comes with brown sauce, you can still taste the squid.
With its vellum business card and witty menu–sections are divided as Porky, Chicken Little, Where’s the Beef? and No Meat Allow–Xe Lua is obviously the youngest Vietnamese joint in Chinatown. The bamboo bridge connecting the front to the main dining room with cloud-painted walls and water fountain are hokey, but Xe Lua is still trying to impress the neighborhood and I’m happy to give them the chance.