Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Binh Minh Quan

One of Chinatown's best restaurants, the Vietnamese joint Binh Minh Quan, doesn't look very impressive from the outside, but inside you'll see that the owners have done a nice job decorating, from the water buffalo figurines at the entrance to the earth-toned walls. They have your standard Vietnamese fare: claypots, pho, and cold vermicelli soups (try the bun rieu). Or, on a special occasion, order the roasted catfish; the dish takes a while to cook so expect to nosh on some appetizers first, or call ahead to put in an order. The roasted catfish is not for the squeamish: A whole catfish, head and all, comes out on a tray along with greens, herbs, and rice paper. The dish warrants a demonstration for first-timers: You dip the rice paper in warm water and gather pieces of fish, herbs, cucumber, lettuce, and marinated vegetables and wrap them all up into a spring roll. Dip in your favorite sauce, and you've got a meal to call home about.
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