I hit up Cha Pa’s because I was in that part of town. And, of course, because I love Vietnamese food. When I lived in Tucson, there was the BEST pho restaurant - Pho 88. I spent many happy calories there. Sadly, I have been less lucky with pho here in The Big Apple. So, I headed to Cha Pa’s to see if I could get my fix.
The restaurant is tiny and casual – come here in jeans and a t-shirt and you will feel totally at home. Spring rolls
Lovely! Crispy and light, but filled with a dense mixture of cabbage, beanthread noodles, and ground pork. Dipped in a light, citrusy-sweet sauce, it’s just what you want when you crave spring rolls. They are fragrant, well-balanced, and addictive.
Vietnamese coffee soda
WOW! I have never had shaking steak before, but this is outstanding! Flank steak that is so tender that it might as well be filet mignon. It’s coated in some sort of VERY light, crispy coating and then dressed in a sweet and salty glaze. It’s served over wilted watercress and pickled onions, which add dimensions of bitterness and tang. The steak is SO tender that you can cut it simply with your teeth. It’s sticky sweet, beefy, and very rich. I would eat this again tomorrow and simply have to try making it at home.
Cha Pa’s isn’t too expensive and I love the food. However, the service is abysmal and my co-diners were less than pleased with their entrees. So, I would come here if you are in the hood and the lunch specials are cheap. Or I would order in in my pajamas.
And I’m still searching for the pho of my dreams here in NYC.