- Complimentary chef's choice appetizer when you dine at the restaurant
Yen Ngo and Hannah Wong, the forces behind this brand-new Alphabet City eatery, see themselves as “warrior women”—which is what Van Da means in Vietnamese. In other words, they are bravely confronting the challenges of the restaurant world. Owner Ngo grew up with this food, and Wong came to it after graduating from Williams College and spending a year traveling on a Fulbright scholarship around Asia. She then went to work at Daniel Boulud’s dB bistro Modern and Gramercy Tavern and helped run the kitchen at Battersby. Van Da’s menu is split between offerings representative of three Vietnamese cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and Hanoi. Here, you will find dishes that are seldom encountered in typical Vietnamese restaurants. “Everything I ate across the whole menu was great,” raves EaterNY critic Scott Lynch, who singled out Bahn Bot Luc, tapioca dumplings stuffed with pork and shrimp, and the turmeric Bahn Khot, crisp, bite-sized little saucers filled with wild mushrooms and creamy coconut custard.