I’ve hemmed and hawed before about how hard it is to find actual vegan vietnamese fare in NYC, so I’m very excited to announce I’ve discovered yet another VEGAN VIETNAMESE joint! Yes, caps it totally necessary.
Located just a few steps from the Roosevelt train station on Queens, Thái Son is totally worth the trip– it’s cheap, delicious and understated. I came here with a friend after work on a Tuesday night, and it was a great place to relax and chow down.
Warm and welcoming, this restaurant features a tiki-bamboo style counter, complete with a display case of desserts and cold appetizers and a winding string of holiday lights perennially bedazzling the ceiling. It’s definitely roomy– there are two open dining sections with plenty of Asian-style tablecloth-under-a-glass-panel tables and cheap cushy chairs, so it’s a good place to hang with a party of people.
So this place has your “typical Asian-style service” — by that I mean direct, quick and no “How is everything?” questions, since they know their food is already good. It might be jarring to people who aren’t familiar with TASS (yeah, I just made that up, sucker)… but I’ve been pretty much raised on it, so I barely notice. And Thái Son definitely has a TASS gold star. Which gives them only 3 carrots— tolerable but could be improved (not likely to though!).
When I was little, these no-shell spring rolls you wrap in raw lettuce and dip in sweet carrot broth were my absolute favorite. Slightly crunchy and super tasty, these are usually made with beef/pork, but I loved these so much that I honestly think they are just as good… if not better than a meat-based version (also healthier!).
These are lightly deep fried, lending the outside a nice, crisp consistency. The filling is super flavorful– textured soy, clear noodles, black mushroom and onion meld together into one tasty-ass appetizer! This is definitely a no-miss!
I’m usually wary of things that are described as “home style vegetable” because it means that they either
a) douse it in some weird brown sauce
b) fry it in tons of oil into a slime-like mess
c) basically it becomes some unrecognizable plant matter mush pile.
Thankfully, it was d) none of the above.
This dish had a bevy of freshly chopped veggies: baby corn (my favorite!), baby mushrooms, carrot, onion, tomatoes and bean curd pouches. Like any Vietnamese joint, it comes with a platter of raw bean sprouts, lemon and Asian basil for you to toss in. The rice noodles were a good consistency- not mushy, perfectly cooked and quite filling. I loved that the broth was light and not too salty, so you were able to add in whatever amount of salt/seasonings as you pleased.
Overall, I was pleased with the food and the prices, which were super affordable, yet allowed me to leave with a full tummy! This place is definitely a keeper.