By Bonnie Chan
Those who are a fan of the Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant Bo Ky on Bayard St. will be happy to know of an equally delicious repeat performance over at 216 Grand St. In November 2009, Grand Bo Ky opened several blocks away from its predecessor, an attempt by manager Chi Vy Ngo to minimize travel for loyal customers. Now, whether you’re on the North or South side of the Chinatown neighborhood, you’ll be close to one of these restaurants. Apparently, the choice has paid off: the new establishment is patronized by many regulars, and extremely packed at lunch time.
One thing you won’t find in Grand Bo Ky is fried rice, one of the traditional Chinese restaurant staples. To be sure, the Chaozhou-style menu offers plenty of rice dishes, but it’s the savory noodle soups that are the standouts: steaming, fragrant broth laden with either flat rice or egg noodles, and the tender meat of one’s choice. Other customer favorites include the curry chicken, seafood flat noodles, pork tripe with noodles, and the country duck on rice, which calls for a special technique involving the dipping and cooking of duck in salty herb broth.
While the menus between the Bo Kys are more or less identical, one special dish is only available at this particular location; namely, the lemongrass chicken on rice, a highly classic Vietnamese dish with a light, delicious flavor.
According to manager Ngo, if there’s one thing he’s learned during his nineteen years in the restaurant industry, rapport with customers is equally as important as good food. Ngo, who more commonly goes by the casual nickname “Angle” (dubbed so during high school for his math smarts), and widely known around the neighborhood for his smiling demeanor and friendliness, stresses positive attitude towards customers at all times. If a dish is not satisfactory, it’s redone till the customer is happy. With his easy propensity to draw people in and make them friends in an instant, Ngo has a knack for remembering customer’s preferences, whether it is for saltier meat or spicier soup.
Much in part due to Ngo’s direction, there’s a refreshing no-frills, frank attitude about Grand Bo Ky. It can’t be said that the customers, mostly consisting of Chinatown locals, return for an ever-changing cycle of new dishes. In fact, the menu is very straightforward, simple, and consists of traditional, tried-and-true dishes— a fresh mixture of Chinese and Vietnamese favorites. All the offerings are very affordable, with the average dish at an amazing $5 price point, and the most expensive not surpassing $10; here, there’s clearly no need to drop a fortune on a delicious feast.
It is this reliability that has made customers so loyal and so sure that upon, their return, they can expect to enjoy a meal as tasty as the last