Grand Bo Ky Restaurant Review: Grand Bo Ky

Grand Bo Ky Restaurant Review: Grand Bo Ky

“Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, There’s nothing you can’t do, Now you’re in New York!” These are the words of Alicia Keys from Jay-Z’s recent hit, Empire State of Mind. As it applies to the restaurant world in New York City, the one thing that you can’t do in the past was expand to your hearts content. In the past, rent was a prohibitive factor that limited the ambitions of restaurateurs. A couple of weeks ago, NYTimes did a feature on Michael Bao Huynh and his quest for a dining empire due to the lesser rent in these tough times. Well, you don’t have to be a big shot to expand these days, even places in Chinatown are expanding. Bo Ky has been a steady presence on Bayard street for years. A couple of weeks ago, they opened a second location on Grand street. My best guess is that the current economy helped them make the expansion.

The interior of Grand Bo Ky is simple, bright, and completely without any charm whatsoever. It’s just a straight up noodle shop, and if it wasn’t so big, it would just be considered a hole-in-the-wall. I ordered a number one, which was some sort of combination noodle. The broth was good, but the great thing about this bowl of noodles was that I was completely clueless about every single topping they provided. There was one shrimp… but aside from the easily identifiable shrimp, everything else was a mystery to me. Tasteless and mysterious. To some, that might be a bad thing, but that’s why there’s condiments on the table. Often you find Asian cuisine to be big on texture, and that’s what all the mystery meat was about. Texture and dipping sauce. If you need slices of humanely raised pork or something on your noodles, this might not be for you.

Halfway through my meal, some older fellow walked into the restaurant and asked whether the restaurant served wine to drink. It was really amusing to me because I’ve never seen a simple noodle shop serve wine. Hell, most Chinese restaurants in New York don’t dabble in wine. It’s probably a shame, since restaurants make great margins on alcohol, although I’m not sure if the usual clientele care much for the vino.

This raises the interesting question of why wine isn’t associated with Chinese food the way it is with other more expensive cuisines. It’s interesting to see that in this country, there’s acceptance of wine with high class. Maybe wine isn’t supposed to be paired with beef and broccoli, but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of people talking about the grapes that go well with crispy cumin lamb or what accentuates the basil and ginger notes in three cup chicken. Maybe one day Chinese cuisine in America will get there.

One last thing, I want to point some eyeballs to a non-profit organization called Hot Bread Kitchen. They’re an organization that teaches immigrant women how to bake. Their inaugural fund raiser is on November 16, and worth taking a look at if you have a chance.

Grand Bo Ky Restaurant216 Grand St..New York, NY 10013212-219-9228

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