Bao’s on a snowy night

There is nothing quite like walking through the city on a snowy night. There is a silence that is so beautiful. We had dinner plans the night it snowed and there isn’t any reason to cancel plans in New York due to weather. If the subways run or you can make the walk, why not.

We went to dinner at Bao’s in the East Village. The restaurant has a charming vibe. That night we went, the restaurant was filled with mostly neighborhood locals. The menu is not extensive but everything we had was really good.

The type of food is Vietnamese. It is always fun to go out with people and have food that everyone can share. Cold sake was the drink of choice that evening. We started with spring rolls that are served with leaves of lettuce and a spicy dipping sauce. You roll the spring rolls up in the lettuce with sauce. I am not sure you needed the lettuce, but the sauce and rolls were really good. We also shared a squid soup which was sliced squid in a curry base. Great taste but could have used more squid. The last appetizer is the only one I did not like although it is a specialty of the house. Braised short ribs taken off the bone and rolled over a lemongrass stick. It has the look of a corn dog. I did not particularly like that. I found the taste and texture uninteresting.

The main courses we split were all good. We had the shrimp curry which was the perfect amount of spice. The vegetarian noodles was made with thick noodles, vegetables and tofu was really tasty. Subtle. The whole fish of the night was a deep fried sea bass with a spicy sauce consisting of tamarind and tomato. Excellent. Spicy and perfectly fried. The last entree was a duck breast with greens. The duck was cooked medium rare and had a really good flavor and consistency.

One of the great things about sharing is that the plates were served cut up for sharing. So, even though we ordered entrees that could have easily been kept to yourself, they asked us if we were sharing so they pre-cut everything to make it easier. Nice touch.

It was so beautiful walking through Tompkins Square. We used to live in the East Village when it was going through a big transformation during the mid 80’s. What has happened down there since is remarkable. Loads of great neighborhood restaurants, interesting retail stores. Majority of the residential has cleaned up with lots of families. It is really great. Our friends live between C and D which is a great neighborhood. I remember being there in the early 80’s and having someone throw us keys down from the roof to get in and the place was littered with needles. Times have definitely changed in the East Village.
It was wonderful being back in the old haunt.