Get excited, Greenpointers— your walk to some seriously delicious Asian fusion just got shorter. Baoburg has moved to our very own stretch of Manhattan Avenue (between Nassau and Driggs). Chef Suchanan Aksornnan (aka Chef Bao Bao) had been delighting patrons in Williamsburg since 2013, but was forced to move her restaurant as a result of Thor Equities’ new mixed-use building. The menu is inspired by a variety of Asian cuisines with some nods to Spanish and French cooking as well. The interior of the new location at is still quite small, but Baoburg gained a beautiful back courtyard in its new home. I recommend walking straight to this oasis to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and brick facades of the outdoor space you wish was your own.
I took my own advice and asked to be seated outside. The stools at the high-top table were dreadfully uncomfortable, but I was mollified by the quiet atmosphere and the spacing of the tables. Yes, you can actually speak to your dining companion without the neighbors hearing your conversation (and we all know that this is indeed a special thing in New York). Looking over the menu, I found an interesting selection of items ranging from dim sum to pad thai to duck salad and chicken wings. We began our meal with the pork belly and the steak bulgogi baos. The pork belly bao is served in build-your-own fashion, which allows you to perfect the ratio of belly to bao and leaves you with plenty of extra meat to enjoy. The steamed bun made the perfect pillow for the exceptionally tender meat and the pork benefited from the subtly sweet, rich flavor of the mole sauce. After such an enjoyable start and beautiful presentation, the steak bulgogi bao was disappointing and unbalanced. The flavor of ssamjang was overwhelming and the beef was begging for some acidity or sweetness to balance the umami.
Grandma’s Chicken over Rice arrived, presented with a side of simple, satisfying broth. This was by no means an exciting dish, but it certainly has its place in the world: comforting and consoling on a sad day as it fills your nostrils with the soothing perfume of ginger. The chicken is tender and topped with a ginger and soy bean sauce. I was lulled into a gentle happiness with each bite, perfectly satisfied by the homeyness of it. I wholeheartedly accepted that this dish really did come from Grandma.
Now, let’s get to the magnetic core of Baoburg into which I am certain you will be forever drawn: their heavenly ramen. I have tried both duck dishes and could gladly die with either as my last meal. The Seared Duck Breast Noodles are served in a black truffle broth that is pure heaven. It is a very rich dish with perfectly cooked, tender duck breast and an aromatic broth with incredible depth of flavor. The duck confit in the Khoa Soi is served on the bone, but just barely, as the meat is melting off of it in mouth-watering perfection. The broth is saturated with that warm curry flavor that possibly heals illness or at the very least cures all of your woes. Do not eat this dish in front of a first date, because you will surely embarrass yourself with excessive “mmms.” I believe my own soliloquy included the repetition of “I’m so happy” over and over again. It really is that good.
I gladly forgive Baoburg for the disagreeable stool on which I dined. Give me a bowl of Khoa Soi and I will eat standing up on a bed of hot coals with and rave about the experience to my friends. The heavenly curried broth alone has wiped away all of my sorrows. Bring your friends, bring your appetite, and maybe bring a cushion. Take in the charming backyard, the attentive service, and be appreciative that not only did this delicious restaurant move to Greenpoint, they now accept credit cards. Welcome to the neighborhood, Baoburg!
Baoburg is located at 614 Manhattan Avenue, between Nassau and Driggs. They are open Sunday – Thursday, noon – 11pm, Friday and Saturday, noon – midnight.