“Black Safe” – A discussion and review of restaurants and bars that we’ve visited. The point of these reviews is to give people of color a sense of how we felt or were treated when patroning these establishments. We’ll each give our take on what we experienced, then we’ll give a score out of 5 on the below criteria:
Madame Vo BBQ
For this week’s iteration of “Black Safe”, we visited Madame Vo BBQ in the East Village. If you don’t know, MVB is a joint venture by Chef’s Jimmy Ly and Yen Vo. Frustrated with the sameness of many Vietnamese restaurants in NYC, they decided to open a new concept and bring some unique new flavors to their traditional cuisine. On a good night, you might run into personalities like Aziz Ansari, Miss Vietnam, or fashion legend Calvin Klein.
The menu has many amazing flavors and options, but we went for the “Beef 7 Ways”. It’s a multi-course tasting of 7 different cuts of beef. Probably the best way to try Vietnamese BBQ, right? You get unlimited rice paper, greens, and accompanying fruits to accentuate the flavors of each special dish. We highly recommend going this route because it’s a really fun and interactive way to taste Vietnamese BBQ.
Our servers were very knowledgeable about everything on the menu. They recommended how to prepare and eat each and what paired well with what.
The ambiance was chill. It felt like you were at a pool party in the heat of summer. The playlist definitely helped to cater to this mood.
F. Dougie – So I loved the concept and I thought that the food was really good. The servers did a really good job of helping to navigate us through all of the different dishes. The smoke from the BBQ was a little much but I guess don’t cook your own meat at the table if you ain’t ready for a little fire, right?
I wasn’t a huge fan of the seaweed wrapped dish and I also thought that the steak was kind of bland but maybe we were supposed to be using the accompanying sauces they gave us? To be honest, I really wasn’t in the mood to drink because I been in the gym making sure I keep my rock hard abs, but if I was I’d be pretty disappointed that MVB doesn’t have their liquor license yet. They should have it very soon, but if you’re looking to get lit, you’re going to need to wait another week or two.
Black Safeness: 4.4/5
Idris Gray – I think it was very typical of a Vietnamese BBQ restaurant. The assortment of meats was good. It was a great suggestion to do the Beef 7 ways, although I feel like they can name it something different.
What was unique about this spot was the vibe and scenery. It was like being in a Miami Vice movie. The walls are covered with rainforest wallpaper and everything in the restaurant is either green or pink. And I can’t overstate how helpful and nice the servers were. Our server saw me struggling with chopsticks and immediately brought over the fork. He a real one.
Black Safeness: 4/5
We both liked this joint. The ambiance was dope but in order to capitalize on it and really keep people engaged with the vibe they have going on, they’ll definitely need to get that liquor license (they should have it before the end of the month). Overall, its a solid recommendation from the both of us but if you wait a week or two, I think this spot will really grab you. With that, “May mắn nhé”.