Brunch menu offers Hanoi-style food with a touch of Southern comfort
New York ( Wall Street Journal): In a city awash in brunch options, the menu at Nightingale 9 stands apart. There are no pancakes to be found, and the waffle is conspicuously not Belgian.
Head chef and co-owner Robert Newton wasn’t content to serve standard brunch fare at his popular Brooklyn Vietnamese restaurant. An Arkansas native, Mr. Newton said he grew up with no real knowledge of Asian cuisine.
“When you grow up in that context and then you get exposed to lemongrass and fish sauce and coconut milk, it’s really eye-opening,” he said. “It captivated my interest.”
Mr. Newton, who returned from Asia last week, spends time in Vietnam every year to deepen his understanding of the country’s culture and cooking. His devotion has paid off with a brunch menu that showcases traditional Vietnamese flavors, while also paying homage to his Southern heritage.
“They’re more similar than you would think. They both have rice, pickles, a love for the pig and there’s shrimping. Not to mention the French influence in Southern food—New Orleans in particular—and in Vietnamese food,” he said. “Not being Vietnamese gives me more freedom to do the things I want, and these commonalities between Vietnamese and Southern food also give us the liberty to explore.”