Le Da Nang, a new East Village Vietnamese spot, doesn’t have a whole lot going for it, at least based on one visit. As Dave Cook pointed out, the menu lacks specialties from the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang, or from its neighbor, Hue. (Though there is a seafood hot pot, which we realized too late might be similar to the ones popular in Da Nang.) We stopped in yesterday and were mostly underwhelmed.
The restaurant is in the old Sea Thai space, and the owners have not changed–accordingly, there are still a few Thai standards on the menu, like pad Thai and “Siamese” shrimp curry.
The Vietnamese offerings include pho, bun, grilled meats with rice, hot pots, and noodles.
The dish billed as “Vietnamese crepes,” shown above, doesn’t much resemble banh xeo. Instead, the translucent parcels filled with ground peanut taste like the hot pot dumplings served at AM-Thai Chili Basil Kitchen. So while it’s unclear if this is a Vietnamese dish, it was the tastiest item we ate.
We didn’t quite know what to make of these fritters, which turned out to be deep-fried dumplings stuffed with shrimp and chicken, drowning in a sweet-and-sour chile sauce that resembles the stuff poured over American-Chinese food. It tastes good, but only for a few bites.
The pho was a sad case, with a watery broth that tasted of star anise and not much else. Da Nang grilled beef was fine, long strips of rather tough meat that benefited from a dip in fish sauce and Sriracha. The slice of baked egg with mushroom that came alongside was interesting, if too watery and under-seasoned to be delicious.
75 Second Avenue