New Vietnamese in BK?
I am trying to recall an article I read in a magazine about a new Vietnamese restaurant (not Banh Mi) in Brooklyn. Does this ring a bell with anyone? I vaguely remember it being about a chef from Manhattan that was opening a shop in Brooklyn.
An Nhau recently opened next door to Banh Mi 172 on Bedford Ave between N. 7th and N. 8th Streets in Williamsburg. I believe the owner's name is Dung Trinh, and he comes with some sort of front-of-the-house experience at Indochine and La Esquina, according to a NY Mag blurb from awhile back.
The restaurant purports to serve homestyle vietnamese comfort food, and my one visit there suggests that they have the potential to pull it off, albeit unevenly at the present moment. Shrimp summer rolls ($5) were serviceable, but our order of veggie rolls never materialized, and we gave up on them when our entrees showed up shortly thereafter. An Nhau's pho broth is rich and soothing, though it lacked some of the herbal depth I always hope to find in the dish. Vegetable toppings were fresh and plentiful, the customary eye round was fine, but my dining-mate's Special Pho order ($10) did not include any of the "special" ingredients it had promised. This was remedied once we notified our waiter, but by the time the bits of offal had worked their way from the kitchen to our table the soup was no longer piping hot, and the fragile pho equilibrium may have been compromised.
A broad rice noodle dish (~$12) was generously-portioned and had a pungent and salty character, and the wok-shaken (?) beef cubes ($15) were bathed in an intense sweet-soy glaze and topped off with a web of watercress. All of these were pleasant enough, but nothing truly amazed.
I ordered a pork belly and boiled egg dish braised in coconut jus. The dish was deceptively simple: thick-cut pork belly pillowed with the requisite layers of fat, accompanied by a hard boiled (and possibly pickled) egg, all immersed in a sharply salty broth. The broth almost killed the dish - just a tad too much salt, although its loud porky character ultimately came to the rescue. Pickled mustard greens offered a nice balance to offset the decadence of the belly and broth, but each bite left me puzzling over where the advertised coconut went.
Overall, it's arguably best authentic Vietnamese option in the neighborhood, and though I'm not in a rush to go back, I'd be willing to try it again once they work out the opening month's kinks.
Edit: the new automatic link-to-a-place feature does not yet recognize An Nhau, but its sister banh mi shop is directly next door.
Banh Mi 172
172 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211