We ended up here on saturday after a series of disappointments (mei li wah had no coconut buns left and hua ji (wah ji) ran out of popcorn chicken...although i need to try that place as quite a few people were there was their pai gu fan)
I think as most people on this board will agree that manhattan viet food is generally subpar (simply not enough viet people in the NYC area to make great viet food readily available)...that said i've generally frequented cong ly when i get a viet food craving as ive found them to be the best (although i need to try xe lua as there has been a decent amt of talk about them recently). I was craving pho this weekend b/c ive been reading some posts on the LA board, so i decided to go to cong ly. Its been quite a while since ive been there, so i was looking forward to re-trying it.
There is nothing to speak of decor wise as the place is a dump (probably even more so than most ctown restaurants). The owner was nice and the service was fine.
Here's what we got:
- dac biet pho (house special pho w/ several cuts of beef including tripe): this was decent, i remember it being better before although it could've been just that day. The noodles themselves were fine, not overcooked and reasonably tasty. The broth was decent, but slightly bland, i believe it had MSG in it, but a very small amount. I think mainly it lacked the depth/complexity of great pho broth (i had some last time i was at home in LA, so im probably making an unfair comparison)....that said it helped cure my pho craving and its still probably the best version in manhattan
- grilled pork over vermicelli: i forgot what this is called b/c its not the regular version of vermicelli, its all stuck together and more dry (i liked it). The dish consists of grilled pork over vermicelli covered in scallions and ground peanuts. this was pretty good, the pork was grilled perfectly, so it was still tender and i believe its been marinated in something b/c the meat tastes slightly sweet. Its served with nuoc cham (viet fish sauce), which i absolutely love and that complements the meat perfectly.
Overall, still think its some of the better viet food in manhattan on a relative basis and pretty decent overall.