New York is filled with so many “pan-Asian” restaurants that it can be difficult to get excited about yet another one setting up shop.
Vietnamese pork chops? Been there. Summer rolls? So, so done that.
And Obao, Michael Huynh’s newest addition to his rapidly expanding string of Manhattan restaurants, hits these and all the other usual notes that you’ll find at many other similarly billed places in the city.
What’s different? Not much, compared with your run-of-the-mill multi-ethnic Asian restaurant.
There are some hits — anything meaty and/or grilled. And, of course, some misses, namely a “spicy” Singapore laksa (pictured above) that’s so watered down that its broth tastes like hot water with some curry powder tossed in toward the end.
But here’s the thing: Even at Obao’s recession-friendly prices (which put entrees between $9 and $18), for those who enjoy a hearty bowl of noodle soup or a crisp papaya salad now and then, there are just so many other places in the city to go for better versions.
So, why eat here?