Report: Roberta Roberti Photos: Jackie Gordon
A dozen or so Alliance members had a leisurely lunch at Bricolage, a Vietnamese gastropub in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on April 16, and were treated to a special menu, overseen by Executive chef and co-owner, Lien Lin, who, at about eight months pregnant, was proof that there is no rest in the restaurant business.
Bricolage is aptly named. Chef Lien explained how everything for the restaurant’s decor was carefully and thoughtfully chosen. From the eclectic chandeliers and sconces made of old rattan chairs, to the vintage mini TVs in the bathrooms, to the rough-hewn salvaged tabletops, everything in Bricolage is repurposed for a casual, rustic, yet chic and whimsical ambience.
We started with a couple of South African sparkling wines, and then dove hungrily into beautifully wrapped summer rolls with a delicious hoisin-peanut sauce, crispy imperial rolls, and a fresh, crunchy papaya salad. After that came pho ga, a chicken-based soup that we could embellish with fresh bean sprouts, basil leaves, and maybe a squirt of lime. Hearty and fresh at the same time, it was incredibly flavorful. Then we had an assortment of banh mi and lemongrass-marinated steak vermicelli. We finished the meal with an assortment of handcrafted French- and Vietnamese-inspired chocolates from Alliance member Milène Jardine, the most intriguing of which was a dark chocolate infused with coconut and kaffir lime leaf. Throughout the meal, we enjoyed several different kinds of wine from South Africa, selected by the Alliance’s wine committee.
This Vietnamese lunch showcased a few traditional dishes, but the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine peeked through, from the crispy shallots on the papaya salad and the soup, to the duck confit banh mi. It was It was the perfect comforting lunch on a gorgeous spring day.