This week the Gambit's resident critic and pho afficianado Ian McNulty reports on four new Vietnamese restaurants opening in New Orleans, from Uptown to Downtown. First off, McNulty hits up new Maple Street hotness Ba Chi Canteen, which is now officially open at 7900 Maple Street.
Operated by by Phat Vu and Quinn Nguyen of Westbank favorite Tan Dinhand located in the old Figaro's space across from Satsuma Maple, McNulty urges everyone to try the steamed buns "they're calling 'bacos,' a pun on on tacos." They're cheap and come stuffed with variations of dreamy seafood/meat, including pork belly. Ba Chi actually means pork belly, and as McNulty says, "the stuff is everywhere" from spring rolls to banh mi. Eater tipsters also report that the Kim Chi Fries are pretty epic, and oh yes, according to the Facebooks, the canteen also offers DELIVERY within a 3 mile radius.
A few blocks away on the corner of Oak and S. Carrollton, McNulty reports that Juicy D's steamed burgers? the restaurant that was called out on their illegal neon signage? has shuttered for good. The former bank space? which has also spent short durations as a curry restaurant and a deli? will become Pho Bistreaux. They're expected to open in the next week, serving pho, Vietnamese fare and (eek?) "banh mi sandwiches rendered as sliders."
In the CBD, McNulty finds a long-shuttered fire-ravaged convenience store will open around April 30 as Viet Orleans Bistro (300 Baronne St). Per McNulty: "This is a pretty big spot gunning for the downtown lunch crowd (there's even a private meeting room)." The menu will also offer "party platters" of egg rolls and such, aiming for office-party catering.
Even in Old Metairie, McNulty reports that Rolls N Bowls (605 Metairie Road) is now open, serving the "usual" pho/bun/banh mi lunch and dinner offerings, but also a "few more vegetarian options than usual, plus bubble teas."