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Bar Bao

bao.jpgRedefining Vietnamese on the upper West Side.
100 W. 82nd St.,
(212) 501-0776.
Mon.-Wed., 6 p.m.-1 a.m.;
Thurs.-Fri., 6 p.m.-2 a.m.;
Sat., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sun., 5-10 p.m.
CUISINE Vietnamese
VIBE Cozy meets cool upper West Sider.
OCCASION First date, group dinner, neighborhood outing.
DON’T-MISS DISH Daikon duck hash, cuttlefish with salsa verde, duck fried rice.
AVERAGE PRICE Appetizers $11, entrées $20, desserts $8.

When I was just an eater and not a writer, I used to dine at a number of Bao restaurants – Bao Noodles, Bao 111, and also Mai House, where Bao was in the kitchen.

It was like a chain of Bao restaurants, a chain in time, not space. Now there’s Bar Bao on 82nd Street.

If you order one way at Bar Bao, it’s like eating at an old Bao
restaurant. Order a different way and it’s like eating at an entirely
new place.

Even Michael Bao Huynh
acknowledges he’s really working with two menus here. “People would be
disappointed if they didn’t find their favorites,” he told me.

And here’s the odd part: the only disappointments about Bar Bao are
the old favorites – the iron pot chicken, the beef pho noodles, short
ribs on lemongrass skewers, and the crab spring rolls. Those have all
seen better days, they’re all a little worn out.

This is a fundamental misconception among some chefs. They think
their identity is tied up in certain dishes, when the mark of a great
chef is actually his broader approach to almost anything he or she

So let’s talk about my new favorites – the dishes that will bring
Upper West Siders back to a restaurant time and again. It all comes
down to duck. Duck hash, duck fried rice, duck summer rolls and roasted
duck with street-style kernels. The one thing they all have in common –
splendidly ungreasy duck. I wish there were more duck dishes on the
menu. In fact, if I were Michael Bao, my next restaurant would be Bao Duck.

Everybody loves breakfast for dinner….

For full review on NY Daily News

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