Sao Mai

203 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10003
212-358-8880
Critics' Pick
Best Of

Details

  • Daily 11am-10:30pm
  • $$
  • Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly
  • Dinner, Lunch
  • Beer/Wine
  • Street Parking
  • Reservations Accepted
Sao Mai ("Morning Star"), far from Chinatown in the East Village, offers a Vietnamese menu that doesn’t stray into Cantonese territory, nor does it offer a useless variety of redundant dishes. The pho is probably the best in town, with a light broth barely scented with spices. The house signature variety features brisket, eye of round, and beef balls. The papaya salad is also superb, a crunchy heap of green fruit tendrils flavored with fish vinegar and Vietnamese mint, an herb rarely scene in Gotham. There are a couple of unique items on the menu, too, including an interesting sandwich that uses the banh mi format to showcase pho fixin’s. With its semi-private tables, this is a great place for a date.

Related Stories (5)

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    Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 2 p.m. by Fork in the Road

    Last week, we did a lot of reporting on restaurants operating in the dark, doing whatever they could to provide light and food to those who needed it. We checked in on our review restaurants, both of which happened to be in blackout...

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    Friday, June 1, 2012 at 7:46 p.m. by Clarissa Wei

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  • What Should You Eat at Sao Mai?
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 8 a.m. by Robert Sietsema

    At Sao Mai, the Goi Du Du (green papaya salad) is damn near unforgettable. This week , Counter Culture floats into Sao Mai ("Morning Star") a newish Vietnamese restaurant in the East Village, and maybe the best Vietnamese restaurant...

  • Is Sao Mai Our Best Vietnamese Restaurant?
    Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 4 a.m. by Robert Sietsema

    No cuisine is as obsessed with fresh herbs as Vietnamese. Take the papaya salad ($8.50) at Sao Mai. In the moist toss of pale green fruit and bright orange carrots—both shredded into shoelaces—darker flecks catch the eye...

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