Four of us had dinner at Nam (same owner as Cyclo on First Avenue) and while the experience was enjoyable, once again my point was proven: if you want low- to moderate- priced Asian food, head to Chinatown.
That said, some of the appetizers were very, very good including the soft rice paper rolls filled with Chinese sausage, jicama and some other things. (Bao bi??)
Also pretty good, but dry, were the barbecued baby ribs. Calamari salad was mushy, not at all the grilled dish tht I had expected. Papaya salad topped with air dried beef, mundane. A crispy pancake made from rice batter (I think) was good...our friend ordered a second one.
Main courses were mundane: two of us had the roast chicken which was no better than any mediocre storefront Vietnamese place outside C'Town.....in a word: boring.. dry white meat and flabby, not crispy, skin. The other chicken dish on the menu was better, lots of heat ...(sorry do not remember names of any of these.) The other main was a shrimp,scallop combo which was good but nothing special. The fried tofu with diping sauce was very tasty.
Price of the dinner for four of us was $100 with one bottle of water, and no dessert. This seemed quite pricey as I had recently travled in Vietnam and experienced the prices there!!!But this is NYC after all!!!! The place is very attractive, very cool lighting fixtures with old photos on them, etc. Service was pleasnt but harried. Very noisy. If I were to return, I would make a meal out of the appetizers, have the rolls again and try the monkfish appetizer which comes highly recommended. Or maybe one of the noodle/soup combos. Better yet, I'd head to Nha Trang or one of the other Viet places in Chinatown.
I'd love to hear recommendations for Chinatown Vietnamese!!