Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sao Mai Comforting East Village Vietnamese

Perfect for sharing: Sao Mai Khai Vi platter

While unassuming from the outside, Sao Mai, which translates into 'early morning star,' is top of mind now for an East Village Vietnamese fix. Just a block from my favorite Vietnamese carry out BaoBQ, Sao Mai offers traditional fare in a warm dine in setting.

Sao Mai means 'early morning star'
Softly lit interiors have been upgraded from the former drab but popular vegetarian restaurant Quantum Leap. Consistency, freshness and service keep me coming back. Did I mention great value? Packed on a recent Saturday night, the reputation has caught on since its December opening.

Start with the delicious house appetizer ($16.00), a sharing platter of make your own lettuce wraps. Fill them with a selection of grilled meats, pickled veggies and freshly plucked mint leaves. For something more substantial, the bun Sao Mai ($9), rice vermicelli noodles scattered with grilled shrimp, pork and spring rolls, is especially good.

Lunch special: grilled pork banh mi
Other tasty basics range from a steaming bowl of pho (traditional noodle soup) to soft shell crabs ($16) and salt and pepper lobster ($24). At lunch only, the selection of banh mi is also worth trying. And Sao Mai just started a weekday $10 lunch special including a choice of appetizer, main and drink.  There's no liquor license, so instead opt for a creamy avocado smoothie.

203 1st Ave
Between 12th+ 13th Sts.
212 358 8880
Mon - Sun 11am - 11pm
Delivery available

Sao Mai on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I've been years trying to get my hands on one of these sandwiches, Excellent picture!