Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, Fork in the Road’s handy list of some of our favorite dishes — old standbys and new finds alike — compiled daily.
Today’s pick: Banh Uot Thit Nuong ($14) at Co Ba.
After a year’s hiatus back in Vietnam, restaurateur Steven Duong’s re-entry to New York is Co Ba, an excellent Vietnamese spot in Chelsea. It is both comfortably casual and somewhat refined, with precisely cooked food that hits sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy notes in delicious balance. With the exception of the clay-pot-cooked pork belly, which is ridiculously good, your best bet is to order anything that involves thit nuong, or grilled pork, which Duong marinates in plum and grills until the edges are sweetly carbonized.
Banh uot thit nuong is essentially a meat-heavy noodle salad; it’s a jumble of that grilled pork and bouncy, pale Vietnamese ham (pale, tender, mild), plus a generous jumble of cucumbers, bean sprouts, crisp fried shallots, and Vietnamese mint and basil. Buried underneath all that is a cool, slippery pile of thick rice noodles. Mixed together with the chile-lime sauce, it’s a dish of contrasts — slip, chew, and crunch; tart, meaty, sweet, and pungent.
Previously in the countdown:
Dish No. 100: Zaragoza Grocery’s Flor de Calabaza Quesadilla
Dish No. 99: No. 7 Sub Shop’s General Tso’s Tofu Sandwich
Dish No. 98: Nigerian Goat Stew From Baku
Dish No. 97: The Captain’s Daughter From Saltie
Dish No. 96: Bun Bo Hue From Thanh Da
Dish No. 95: The Beauty From Mile End
Dish No. 94: Potato, Egg, and Provolone on a Roll at Torrisi Italian Specialties
Dish No. 93: The Terrine Board at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room
Dish No. 92: Sausage and Egg Breakfast at La Bonbonniere
Dish No. 91: Roasted Carrots at Porchettta
Dish No. 90: Spicy Miso Ramen at Ramen Setagaya
Dish No. 89: Peanut Butter Pretzel Pie From First Prize Pies
Dish No. 88: Brown Butter, Corn, and Mushroom Linguine at Buttermilk Channel
Dish No. 87: Katsudon at Ennju
Dish No. 86: Fried Chicken With Two Sides at Soul Fixins
Dish No. 85: Fried Lamb Intestines at El Quinto Pino
Dish No. 84: Kunafa From Nablus Sweets
Dish No. 83: Potato Flatbread at Sahadi’s
Dish No. 82: Chicken-Fried Chicken Livers at Cornbread Diner
Dish No. 81: Taleggio, Broccoli Rabe, and Sausage Panini at Bocca Lupo
Dish No. 80: Hamburger at M. Wells in Long Island City
Dish No. 79: Vanilla Malted at Brooklyn Farmacy
Dish No. 78: Seafood Combo With Hot Sauce From Randazzo’s Clam Bar
Dish No. 77: Fried Ipswich Clams at Ed’s Lobster Bar
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 12, 2010
More:100 Favorite Dishes