|Available only for lunch, this porky banh mi is not half bad.|
It may be a long time since you've heard anything about New Mekong Restaurant
, the Thai-Vietnamese spot that once graced Nolita and now sits on the corner of Sixth Avenue and King Street. It's been open for a few years, ancient in this day and age of food blogs clawing for the newest, hottest next thing. Most restaurants that don't maintain their buzz in gimmicky ways, or aren't totally awesome, fall to the background. Mekong, however, has managed to not only hang on, but to thrive.
Despite the lack of media attention, a solid group of regulars flocks to the spot nightly. There are waif young things picking at single-strip-of-beef- and vegetable-stuffed summer rolls and better than necessary salt-and-pepper calamari. Feminine, floppy-haired men, and overly tough-looking skater types, throw back beers and chopstick-fuls of braised pork belly with eggplant and mushroom stuffed sticky rice.
Though it's not a destination restaurant, Mekong can certainly be considered the Cheers
of West Soho. Everyone seems to know everyone else, making cheek-kissing and table-hopping more important activities than eating, and it's not unusual to see dogs, and kids, hanging outside on a sunny day. For a pretty pricey block (sit long enough and you'll notice at least one sunglass-clad celeb pass by), it's not an overly expensive menu. Though not authentic, it will do the trick. If you're looking to get to know the neighbors.