BÒ Càphê draws in the customers who are in the mood to feel like thirty dollars and only spend twenty-five.

On a sun-filled afternoon, clips of sunlight enter through the front windows of BÒ Càphê. Small wafts of balmy air ruffle the foot-long curtains which line the ceiling, and in between each layer of creamy fabric, plants are clipped upside down from metal hooks. The greenery hangs down like a woman’s voluminous, crimped hair, where some some strands dangle longer than others. Intricate Vietnamese figures are pasted onto the seashell green walls, with their outfits adding colors of navy, crimson, and tints of purple, yet the animations stop halfway down the wall, as long slates of black tile bury the wallpaper. Iron piping supports each of the pale, wooden tables, and the other countertops look like they were picked up at an antique shipyard. On each table, vines of mint bathe in jugs of water. This restaurant provides immaculate character, starting with a beach-like ambience and continuing into industrial decor.
BÒ Càphê’s dishes invite a variety of emotions with each bite. Simply biting into the Fresh Veggie Spring Roll ($4.50) leaves you at first disturbed, confused, and then just curious enough for another bite. Entering on a white, tin platter with distressed, charcoal rims, the roll smells of sour-dough bread, without the airy texture or the tangy flavor. The crystalized, fried coating resembles a toad’s close cousin, and oozing with cream cheese, beads of quinoa spill out of the cut center. As the flavor collides with your tongue, you may also want to croak.
While the veggie roll brings a sense of diversity, the Chicken Phò ($15) looks like the streets of New York after a rainstorm and smells like a musty over-crowded subway. Celery, carrots, onions, and cilantro are entangled in the rice noodles. The chicken is moist, and every few bites brings you back to childhood—digging for the mystery prize from the lucky charms box—except with chewy chicken tendons. The chef puts in his finest meat, along with a few of its scraps.
The words of Michael Buble’s song “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” whisper through the open windows onto Lafayette Street, as BÒ Càphê draws in the customers who are in the mood to feel like thirty dollars and only spend twenty-five.

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