The talented couple behind Madame Vo recently opened this joint as a way to introduce NYC to Vietnamese BBQ, which, from what I understand, is very popular in central Vietnam.
Be aware: this is not the same as American BBQ, which we all know is characterized by slow and low smoker cooking. This involves a high-heat metal mesh grill and various cuts of meat. Fast and hot, no smokers.
Also: this isn’t Korean or Japanese BBQ. While they use a similar cooking method with the grill, the flavors, preparations and beef items are obviously entirely different.
What’s really unique about Madame Vo BBQ, and what I feel sets Vietnamese BBQ apart from other grilled meat establishments, is that the traditional “Beef 7 Ways” or “Bò 7 Món” feast in Vietnamese culture really lends itself perfectly to this style of cooking.
So what is “Beef 7 Ways?” Sounds like a dream come true, right? It is. It’s also really not that difficult to figure out from its name.
“Beef 7 Ways” in Vietnamese cuisine is generally a large format family style meal where various cuts of beef are served, obviously, in seven different ways. Almost always this will involve some thin sliced beef that’s grilled or dipped in a hotpot broth. There will also almost assuredly be a spiced ground/minced beef application, often wrapped in a betel leaf. And surely there will be a finishing dish of some form of starch with beef. But all throughout, there are “summer roll” rice wrappers on the table – along with various veggies, herbs and even fruits – for you to wrap up with the beef as you eat your way through all seven courses.
Madame Vo has done a great job of elevating that traditional “Bò 7 Món” concept, refining it, and presenting it to New Yorkers in the familiar grill table format. Here’s how they present their version of “Beef 7 Ways:”
1st Way: Eye Round Carpaccio
This was great. I’ve always thought that eye round would be perfect for a carpaccio application. This Viet style carpaccio was so delicious. Great pops from the herbs, spices and sauce.
2nd Way: Meatballs
These are technically not beef; they’re pork. But delicious nonetheless, and still part of the seven.
3rd & 4th Ways: Ground Beef Wrapped in Betel Leaf & Thin-Sliced Short Rib with Onion
These are both grilled, and the betel leaf rolls were my favorite of the seven courses. They have a great fresh green kick to them from the grilled leaf.
5th Way: Five-Spice Beef Tongue
This was awesome. They’re cooked through and make for the perfect filling in those rice wraps with veggies and herbs.
6th Way: Dry Aged Strip Steak with Marrow Butter
That marrow butter was absolute crack. Here’s a little video of it getting smeared on.
7th Way: Oxtail Congee
I really liked this. It was a close pick for my favorite of the meal.
Madame Vo BBQ offers this “Beef 7 Ways” for just $59/pp. I think that’s a great deal considering the quality of the beef, the amount you get, and of course the deliciousness of the whole experience.
We didn’t stop there, though. We also had some amazing seafood apps (not included with the “Beef 7 Ways”).
Giant Oyster with Uni Mayo
These things were huge, and that uni mayo was really addictive.
Maine Uni with Special Fish Sauce Beurre Blanc
Beautiful, sweet and delicious.
These were nice and big. Tasty heads too!
The tamarind sauce on this really made it unique.
Short Rib & Marrow Spring Rolls
Loved these. I could eat a dozen easily.
And because I’m like a wild animal, I wanted more beef. We shared the Pat LaFrieda dry-aged tomahawk rib eye. At $95 for about 40oz, this is a steal.
Really beautifully presented too.
I highly recommend this place. Go with a group so you can try lots of stuff. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed!
MADAME VO BBQ
104 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003