Refined, upmarket Vietnamese food is winning over hounds at the newish Mai House. “A divine experience,” declares FoodieGirl007, who recommends white yam soup with rock shrimp and a knockout entree of clay pot chicken with quail eggs, lemongrass, ginger and chiles.
Flavors are fresh and well balanced; melissas816 loves the perfect curry and coconut notes in the house lacxa, a bowl of prawns and shrimp noodles in broth. (Your server may warn that this dish is spicy; it isn’t really.) Chef Michael Huynh has brought in some greatest hits from his previous gig at Bao 111 in the East Village, including barbecued quail and sticky rice studded with Chinese sausage. Other smart orders: sweet-sour-spicy whole red snapper, thin-sliced sizzling lemongrass short ribs with Vidalia onion, and a trio of ginger, cinnamon and black sesame sorbets for dessert. The few disappointing dishes tend toward blandness, like steamed black cod and shrimp spring rolls.
Cocktails are varied and interesting; one exquisite choice, says eeee, is the Buddha’s Eye (Tanqueray 10, honeydew juice, basil). The atmosphere is inviting and energized, and service is friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.
Bao 111 [East Village]
111 Ave. C, between E. 7th and 8th Sts., Manhattan