Van Da is a Vietnamese restaurant in the East Village with a lounge-like bar area on the ground floor, and a little basement dining room that feels like an art gallery. It’s a cool spot - but the menu isn’t very long, so it's not ideal for a full dinner. Instead, stop by with a couple of friends, drink some cocktails, and share a few small plates. We like the tapioca dumplings with shrimp and pork, the fried mochi, and the lettuce wraps with chicken meatballs inside - and if you just want a sandwich, you’ll be happy with the pho short rib grilled cheese, which comes with some broth on the side for dipping.
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The Smith is a chain restaurant that started in the East Village, and it’s sort of like a mid-tier sedan. Not too flashy, but it gets the job done.
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