Pick almost any popular kind of cuisine in New York and you’ll find options spanning the spectrum. Want Mexican? We’ve got tortilla factories in Bushwick making excellent tacos, but we also have Cosme. Korean? There are dozens of places to stuff your face with hot bibimbap in Koreatown, but also a $180 Korean tasting menu in Tribeca where you can choose to add on an additional caviar course. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who’s actually been there. But it exists.
The places we get asked about most (and the places we find ourselves wanting to go to most) aren’t those places at the extremes. Instead, they’re the ones somewhere in the middle of the spectrum - the Hanjans, and Momofuku Noodle Bars, the Black Ants. Fun places, with great food. The kind of spots you’d bring a friend who’s visiting town.
Until now, Vietnamese food in New York hasn’t had much to offer in this category. On the cheap eats front, you can get a great banh mi in a jewelry shop, or an excellent bowl of pho up the block in Chinatown for about $7. On the higher end, there’s midtown’s Le Colonial, a great place to celebrate your grandmother’s birthday; or Noho’s Indochine, a great place to celebrate a fashion editor’s twelve consecutive years subsisting primarily on bok choy. The closest thing we had to that middle ground was Ridgewood’s Bun-Ker, which, while outstanding in all ways, isn’t the kind of spot you can linger for hours over cocktails, and is the kind of spot where you can wear basketball shorts.
But now there’s Park Slope’s Bricolage. A nice, but not too nice Vietnamese restaurant. The chefs and owners are veterans of The Slanted Door, a place that has been doing the modern Vietnamese thing for years in San Francisco, and the food they’re cooking is very good, if not super original or particularly mindblowing. At dinner, expect to eat spring rolls and sliced steak, while at lunch they’re serving up banh mi and pho.
One thing that is at least somewhat mindblowing, however, is the excellent patio situation. The space is filled with salvaged wood and a bunch of cute plants - truly the stuff of Brooklyn wet dreams. It’s the kind of place that makes you refer to plants as cute.
We can’t quite qualify Bricolage as a must-visit, but we can award it the title of fun place to eat good Vietnamese food and drink nice cocktails on a cool patio. At least that’s something we didn’t have before.
Yes, you’ve had summer rolls before. You know what the deal is. Filled with shrimp and pork belly, they’re very fresh and quite tasty.
A crispy crepe filled with bacon and shrimp. We want to eat this every time we’re hungover. A must order.
A riff on a famous dish from The Slanted Door in SF, but essentially: it’s a nice sliced ribeye steak with a citrusy, peppery dipping sauce.
Crispy fried wings come with a sriracha butter sauce, which is not a sauce to get mad at.
No, you can’t eat the patio. But it is one of the best things about this place. Just look at it.