We here at NYC.com are unabashed fans of the cuisine at Viet Cafe. Their delivery service, however, is a travesty. Two out of the last three times we've ordered our meal took the scenic route through Tribeca. This even though we alerted the friendly phone staff that, despite their computer system's view on the matter, we had indeed moved.
Alas, this last time around when our cold left-overs arrived some 1.5 hours after ordering, we did the natural thing. A polite but firm call to management. To our surprise we were met with indignity. No apologies. A lame offer to send us over something. A flat out refusal to refund our credit card.
Well, we'll see about that. Our friends at American Express may have other ideas. As for Viet Cafe, we'd highly recommend paying a visit to their sparsely attended dining room. We suspect it is a bit harder for them to serve you ice cold food with a straight face. When it comes to take-out, however, we'd strongly suggest you follow our course of action. Place the Viet Cafe menu in the recycling bin, along with the thousands of dollars worth of future orders they are too myopic to appreciate.
Viet Cafe is located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. TriBeCa, or the Triangle Below Canal Street, became a popular neighborhood for artists and others seeking relief from the rising prices in SoHo in the late 1980s. In some ways similar to the SoHo of decades past for its conversion of gritty old industrial warehouses into beautiful loft spaces, the real estate boom of the later 1990s transformed forever the small-town feeling of TriBeCa. No longer is it tough to find good food, grocery stores or newsstands. Chic boutiques now compete with high-end restaurants and bars, while the influx of upper-income families have led to the quick disappearance of the downright cheap apartment bargains of years past. Forbes magazine recently ranked the 10013 zip code in TriBeCa as the 12th most expensive zip code in the United States. Anonymous high-rises are sprouting up next to the historic older buildings, whose cast-iron façades and gleaming picture windows bespeak a New York of decades past. TriBeCa is a neighborhood where luxury apartments can be found adjacent to city government offices, where the quiet of cobblestone streets contrasts with the heavily trafficked truck routes to the Holland Tunnel, so one should expect the unexpected. In short, expect a microcosm of New York. Recently the neighborhood profile has been raised tremendously by the new TriBeCa Film Festival. Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2002, this New York attraction was created to celebrate the city as a major filmmaking center and to contribute to the long-term recovery of lower Manhattan. In a remarkably short period of time the TriBeCa Film Festival has become known as one of the leading annual film festivals in the world. Other famous film companies are in the neighborhood as well, most notably Miramax Films Studios on Greenwich Street. In the 19th and 20th centuries TriBeCa was known as a center of the textile and cotton trade, but today in its stead there are a number of modern institutions and important landmarks in the neighborhood. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey has its entrances and exits in the northwest corner of TriBeCa. Washington Market Park, bordering Greenwich, Chambers, and West Streets, is a 1.6-acre park that is extremely popular with children for its large playground. While in terms of educational institutions, Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's prized specialized science high schools, as well as PS234, an elementary school considered one of the best public schools in the New York metropolitan area, are located in TriBeCa. Brunch, lunch and dinner activities in TriBeCa are highly regarded, not just due to the excellent (and usually expensive) cuisine options, but also in regard to the relative tranquil atmosphere of the neighborhood. Bubby's Restaurant on Varick Street remains popular among the film crowd and is known to be a family friendly restaurant. The Odeon on West Broadway provides the most beloved bistro setting and French comfort food in the neighborhood. And for more refined tastes, Robert De Niro has ownership in not one but two well-known local restaurants here. The TriBeCa Grill, located between Franklin and Greenwich Streets in the first two floors of the TriBeCa Film Center Building, offers classic American cuisine in a converted industrial warehouse setting, and Nobu, a favorite haunt of many New York celebrities, which serves innovative "new style Japanese cooking" to those who are willing to handle the hefty prices on the menu. In addition, the numerous David Bouley properties are always a favorite. Staying in TriBeCa during a stay in Manhattan can offer visitors a welcome escape from the hectic, bustling streets of the neighborhoods in and near Midtown. An obvious choice would be the Tribeca Grand Hotel which plays host to the TriBeCa Film Festival and lies in close proximity to Little Italy, Chinatown, Hudson Square nightclubs, Greenwich Village, New York University, and Wall Street. The Greenwich Hotel, located on the Western edge of the neighborhood right next to the TriBeCa Grill, offers 13 luxury suites and 75 unique rooms. The Cosmopolitan Hotel in southern TriBeCa is geared to the needs of out-of-town visitors and has affordable rooms, a convenient location, and newly refurbished in-house restaurant, the Cosmopolitan Café.
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