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Nha Trang Centre


I like this place because if you're taking the M from Queens, it's kitty
corner from that odd Canal St. exit that puts you out on Centre St. No
transferring trains, no treks through town, just a 30 min. straight shot
from Ridgewood. Convenience and good Vietnamese food. They've got the
typical subtle variations of pho and all sorts of stuff with beansprouts and
basil. But the last time I was there right before a job interview, I
branched out and had this pork chop thing (have to re-look up the name) that
was amazing and at $5.25 didn't put a dent in even an unemployed gal's
pocket. I also slammed a Tsingtao to calm any pre-interview jitters and
worried for a moment that I was delving into Uncle Ned (Tom Hank's one shot
"Family Ties" character) territory. The dish came with two barbecued pork
chops on rice with some sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots, and a piece
of this "egg cake" which was like scrambled egg with something black like
beans inside. I felt pretty invigorated, albeit stuffed, upon leaving. And
no, I didn't get that job. Keep your eye out for the waiter who goes,
"Yummy, yummy" and then mumbles something under his breath when he brings
your food.

I'm tackling my eating alone phobia and trying a different Chinatown
place every Tues. night before my writing class. I thought I'd already
battled this affliction when I'd reluctantly eat lunch alone while working
at the library in Portland. I was a total spazz about it in the mid '90s,
and unfortunately the new millennium hasn't improved me much. I'm convinced
this Fred Durst guy was staring at me the entire meal, not a glare, but
every time I'd look up our eyes would meet, and not in a wanted way. Then a
skinny young girl sat down facing me and also kept catching my line of
vision. Such paranoia. I find it hard to chew when you feel eyes are on you.
Anyway, the #1 pho was tasty, filling and cheap and that's what counts.

Nha Trang Centre * 148 Centre St. New York, NY

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