Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Chinatown Project - Day 4 - Sau Voi Cafe

Day 4 found me missing the morning session of Jury Duty. I had a prior commitment and our great Clerk George let me miss the morning session. I promised to be back by 2pm for the afternoon session. Things ran late and I popped out of the subway across from 60 Center Street at 1:40 pm. I had twenty minutes to get lunch and get to the jury room.

My options seemed extremely limited. Either get a sandwich at Starbucks or go old school and get a dirty water dog for lunch. I thought about getting a dog in honor of Jerry Orbach but decided to make a quick check of anything else close. Tasty Dumpling and Fried Dumpling were too far away. I thought all was lost until I noticed something that looked promising a few blocks north on Lafayette. I hustled up Lafayette and walked right past Sau Voi Corp.

I checked the address and found myself in front of what looked like a corner grocery with lotto, cigarettes and the usual soda and chips offerings. I stepped in and instead I was confronted with bins full of Vietnamese Pop CDs and DVDs of Vietnamese movies. Then I realized that tucked in the corner, behind the door was a tiny food counter selling Banh Mis and a few other Vietnamese dishes. There were three friendly Vietnamese women behind the counter taking orders and making the food. I ordered the Bahn Mi Pate Gio then hustled back to the juror room just in time.

For the uninitiated a Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich. It usually contains some kind of meat along with vegetables. The Pate Gio I ordered featured ham and Vietnamese Pate with pickled daikon radish, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro. Meaty, sharp, and bright, it was one of the best Bahn Mi sandwiches I have had. One more thing. The Bahn Mi was $4.00. Let me be clear. The Bahn Mi Pate Gio you see above was $4.00. In New York City. This may be the single best food bargain in NYC.

I promised I would not repeat a lunch spot during the Chinatown Project and I will not. That does not mean I can't hit Sau Voi Cafe on the way home and stock up on a few Bahn Mi for dinner.  Any Vietnamese Pop recommendations?

Sau Voi Cafe - 101-105 Lafayette Steet, on the corner of Walker Street (inside Sau Voi Corp)