The last stop on our restaurant week tour was BarBao, a modern Vietnamese joint on the Upper West Side. I had heard good things from the sous chef at Savoy and was excited. We, again, decided to eschew the restaurant week menu and instead ordered two appetizers to share and one entree each. Our server informed us that all the food was meant to be shared, but we ordered separate entrees anyway since Dave wanted meat.
The appetizers were the best part of the meal. We went with the “peel and eat” tiger shrimp which came with a chili-yuzu sauce, and the vegetable Saigon noodles. The shrimp were good, but I didn’t feel the need to peel them. I ate each crispy morsel whole, tail and all. The noodles were soft and flavorful, but could have been mixed with a bit more veg.
For my main course I had the market fish which was a bass, sauteed and served over a bed of vermicelli and mixed vegetables. The fish was wonderfully crisp and the sauce was sweet and delicious. By the time I got to the noodles at the bottom, they had soaked in all that nice flavor. My only complaint was that by the end the sauce became a bit too much, it could have been a little thinner.
Dave ordered the crispy Berkshire pork belly which came with white rice. The pork itself was, “soft and juicy and good but not great.” Dave quickly realized why all the dishes are meant to me shared, that no one person is meant to eat that many slices of pork belly.
All in all it was a solid meal, but doesn’t trump my favorite modern Vietnamese in NYC, Nam.