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Best Vietnamese New York 2012 - Sao Mai

Sao Mai

Sao Mai

203 1st Ave.

New York, NY 10003

212-358-8880

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New York City is famous for not having good Vietnamese restaurants. Aficionados say our pho is lacking in subtlety, our spring rolls small and badly fried, and many of the fresh herbs that are essential to the cuisine simply not available here. Well, Sao Mai ("morning star") changed all that. The concise menu of this East Village newcomer omits the Cantonese standards found on most Viet bills of fare and offers a choice selection of dishes that demonstrate the breadth of the cuisine without belaboring it. And, furnished with sawtooth cilantro and holy basil, the pho is a thing of beauty. You shouldn't miss the papaya salad, either. 203 First Avenue, 212-358-8880 (10003)

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