Photos by Nick Solares Photography
The gist: Stephen Starr restaurant alums Sara Leveen (most recently the director of new restaurant openings) and Ben Lowell (who helped open Makoto in Miami and works at Buddakan) have teamed up on Hanoi House, a cozy East Village spot serving modern comfort Vietnamese fare. Chef John Nguyen helms the kitchen.
The food: Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, look for flame-grilled meats and veggies inspired by the street food stalls of Hanoi. You'll find a mix of small plates, soups and stews, as well as shareable family-style entrees. A few standouts include the Goi Cuon Nem Nuong appetizer, a salad roll with housemade pork sausage, Thai basil and mint with spicy peanut sauce. The Kho Bach Tuoc features coconut-braised octopus with charred onion and quail egg.
Pho, the popular Vietnamese street soup is part of the menu too. The Pho Bac is made with Hanoi broth, rare filet mignon, brisket and rice noodles. Topping the family-style plates is the Cha Ca, white fish with turmeric, sweet onions, dill and peanuts, served with a ginger and tamarind dipping sauce. Desserts too feature fresh tropical flavors and playful takes on familiar fare, like the Ca phe cot dua, coconut ice cream drenched in Vietnamese coffee.
The drink: Taking a cue from hip coffee houses or “caphes” around Hanoi, there will be a number of Vietnamese teas and coffees on the menu. Wine and beer is available by the bottle and by draft, plus a few fortified wines, including the Amer Gingembre which provides a heady hit of ginger.
The space: Decked out with French-Vietnamese antiques, the brick-walled, narrow space mixes old and new with industrial-style lights, vintage tiled floors and bright white subway tile in the open kitchen. Old-school scroll doors separate a smaller semi-private dining area. Brass touches throughout and bright green plantings add some color.
The details: 119 St Mark’s Place, 212-995-5010; Dinner Sun.-Thurs.: 5:30-11 PM Fri. & Sat.: 5:30 PM. - 1 AM. (During the soft opening just dinner, but look for expanded hours soon.)