Bao Bao Cafe: Good Noodles, Zero Baos

Google Maps has a dry sense of humor. Check out their local business descriptions– one sentence that cut rights to the point (and often right past it). For example, my local Starbucks is a

Seattle-based coffeehouse chain known for its signature roasts, light bites and WiFi availability

which is completely accurate but still for some reason feels wrong. Like, being known for “signature roasts” and “light bites” is brochure-speak, but being known for “WiFi availability” is social satire. Like, based in Seattle might once have been relevant, but isn’t after store #28,218.

In much the same way, it is also true that Bao Bao Cafe is a

Narrow, low-key eatery with rustic decor & Chinese specialty fare like hot pot & tea eggs.

Narrow and low-key it is! How low-key, you ask? Half-underground under a dirty awning behind a construction barricade low-key!

Rustic decor? Sure! One of the barstools collapsed* while I was eating, and a hung over Kips Bay broseph had to dust off his denim jacket and sweatpants. That’s rustic enough for me, although I’m not sure why it gets first billing ahead of the food.

And what of the Chinese specialty fare like hot pot & tea eggs? I had neither. Instead I got the Bao Bao Noodles which came with a tasty sichuan sauce and a big scoop of pork and “cowbeans” on top. It was all quite delicious, and I’m so glad I didn’t know they were called cowbeans before I ordered them. The noodles did a good job of holding onto the flavor, and the flavor was mmm crave-able. The hard boiled egg was … extra hard.

Okay, not to be that guy, but how about putting at least one bao on the menu?

It was really quite good. Better than the rustic decor and total lack of a visible exterior would make you believe. Google really ought to call it

A flavorful, shabby-chic eatery with hazardous seating and delicious noodles after your long night partying at Baruch College.

*In fairness the broseph may still have been drunk, and the barstool was foldable, so it could have been operator error.

I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbeans.

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