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Sao Mai

203 1st Ave. New York, NY 10003 | East Village | 212-358-8880

Location Description:

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)

Details

  • Cuisine(s): Vietnamese
  • Hours: Daily 11am-10:30pm
  • Price: $$
  • Serving: Dinner, Lunch
  • Alcohol: Beer/Wine
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Parking: Street
  • Payment Types: All Major Credit Cards
  • Features: Takeout, Vegetarian Friendly

Related Stories

  • Fork in the Road: Hurricane Sandy
    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...
  • Fork in the Road: Under Review
    See what NYC's restaurant critics have been up to this week: Robert Sietsema thinks Sao Mai might be New York's best Vietnamese restaurant: "Situated on First Avenue in the East Village,...
  • Dining: Reviews
    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...
  • Fork in the Road: Picture This ... and This
    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...
  • Dining: Reviews
    It was an auspicious beginning: a squat stack of culantro nestled against the branches of Thai basil and crisp bean sprouts on the herb plate accompanying my pho. It's rare to find the dark...

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