430 Lafayette St.
The scene at this crowded, faux-French-colonial Vietnamese restaurant is still happening, even if Upper West Siders and blondes in fur coats—not below-14th hipsters—are the ones drinking the Pineapple & Ginger Martinis and bottles of ‘33’ beer. Luckily, the scene in the kitchen is mostly unchanged (in over 20 years). Spring rolls still arrive hot and crisp, with all their innards (mushrooms, cellophane noodles, chicken, carrots) individually tastable, and chef Huy Chi Le’s “Amok Cambodgien” is a textbook rendition: sole fish wrapped up in a banana leaf with a rich coconut-milk curry. Desserts straddle the East-West fence with equal aplomb, whether you pick roasted banana and sticky rice or a perfect French lemon tart.