110 Reade St (nr West Broadway)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 267-1777
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Entree Price: $15-20
Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard
For most Americans, Vietnam remains a foreign country so far across the world, it doesnít figure into their vacation plans. The same can be said, on a smaller scale, of a tip to TriBeCa for an Upper East Sider like me. So, a visit to Nam, the ultra-stylish Vietnamese restaurant on Reade Street, was my own mid-winter vacation. And like the best kind of travel, it afforded me the opportunity to sample some delicious and unusual dishes at remarkably affordable prices. My friend Charles, a true foodie and Nam habituť, insisted on beginning the meal with the ca bam, and his suggestion was right on the mark. This surprisingly sublime dish consists of chopped monkfish thatís been seared in a wok along with herbs and peanuts (one of Namís staple ingredients), served with an oversize rice cracker. We also sampled a couple of the houseís appealing rice paper rolls, notably one filled with very tasty chunks of lemongrass beef with sesame seeds. Entrees proved just as flavorful as the starters -- most notably, bun thit nuong, a dish of truly yummy barbecued pork that was as far from sickly sweet as one could hope for accompanied by vermicelli. But we were equally pleased perfectly prepared dish of salmon in a clay pot and a decidedly healthy plate of roasted chicken chunks in a delicate lemongrass sauce. Having eaten so well, in every sense of the word, we were all set to skip dessert; but in the end, the temptation of an insanely rich chocolate mousse cake napped in a caramelized orange sauce was too great to resist. It was worth every calorie, not to mention a $20 cab ride home.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton