French Plus One: 6 of Brooklyn’s Best French-Fusion Restos

My favorite thing about French cuisine is its ability to pair with any other cuisine, to become an important part of it and, in turn, to make the other cuisine an important part of French cuisine, too. Why can’t relationships between people be that easy?

Or, maybe people fusion is that simple? If French cuisine were a person, I suppose it would have acquired many lovers that it never could say goodbye to, almost like a person that would prefer a relationship with two or more people at the same time, than one or none.

The following list spotlights Cajun, Mexican-French, and Senegalese eateries that produce beautiful, delicious and, in some cases, downright genius results of culinary multi-cultural relationships. Tchoup Shop’s shrimp and grits, Jolie Cantina’s duck confit quesadilla, and Cafe Rue Dix’s Yassa Guinar are tasty proof that polyamorous cooking is all love.

Darling NOLA Feasts: Cajun and Creole Cuisine

The Big Easy is a top-five spot on my travel bucket list. Its native cooking styles are two good reasons. Cajun and Creole are, in my opinion, vintage varieties of French-fusion cuisine due to their mixed cultural origins, heavy French influences and unique inclusions of the French palette.

Until I win my beads on Bourbon Street, or taste the original French-fusion cooking in the French Quarter, I’ll make do with exciting eats at Tchoup Shop (Tchoup is pronounced chop) and Lowerline while I dream of hurricanes, beignets and meeting the cast of “Southern Charm: New Orleans.”

Tchoup Shop
My mouth is watering, as I create a healthy list of Tchoup Shop must-tries: the crispy chicken biscuit sandwich, shrimp and grits, veggie hoppin’ john, cheesy crawfish bread, and famous duck and okra gumbo. I know that’s several mouthfuls to order, but I’m sure I’ll go back again and again to this popular Bushwick bar with Cajun aka Louisiana “country” cuisine to find favorites while checking off my must-try list.
Tchoup Shop, 50 Wycoff Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237, (929) 234-3500
 
Lowerline
Lowerline receives high praise for bringing casual Creole soul to Prospect Heights. Specializing in fresh oysters, this quaint and casual Louisiana-street namesake delivers a short but sweet menu for seafood-ies like moi. The oyster po-boy, fresh oysters and the crawfish étouffée all tempt my low-country roots. Can’t wait to try ‘em!
Lowerline, 794 Washington Ave, Brooklyn NY 11238, (347) 533-7110, https://www.lowerlinebk.com

Fiesta y Fête: Mexican-French Cuisine

When the Millionaire Margarita recipe—tequila, lime juice, orange juice, simple syrup and Cointreau—was revealed to me, I should’ve realized then that the Mexican-French combo was undeniably great. But I recently had a lightbulb moment when I googled French fusion in NY and found that Mexican-French cuisine was and still is a hit. After finding quite a few spots that serve Mexican croques, I’m a staunch believer in the perfect Latino/Catalan bite.
 
Jolie Cantina
It’s French! It’s Mexican! It’s more than just a “pretty bar” on Smith Street. In fact, pretty isn’t the word I’d call Jolie Cantina’s bar area, which is also home to a bicycle that delightfully hangs from the ceiling. How Avant-Garde! But the lobster chilaquiles, duck enchiladas and croque señorita—substitutes ham in the croque madam with chorizo—are all pretty creative dishes. Jolie Cantina’s shrimp fajitas are tasty but not a sizzling hot example of Mexican-French fusion, rather a more traditional version of the dish.
Jolie Cantina, 241 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, (718) 488-0777, https://www.joliecantina.com

Santos Anne

If the Santos Anne’s dinner menu doesn’t sufficiently rep its fusion theme, check out its cocktail list. Smokey, refreshing, floral and spicy, the drinks at Santos Anne are unapologetically multiculti, if not crave-worthy. I’d start with a Fleur Spritz, a floral accompaniment perfect for a light appetizer. A Gentleman’s Sidekick, a strong and sweet drink similar to a boulevardier, would be a delightful end of the night treat.
Santos Anne, 366 Union Ave, Brooklyn NY 11211, (718) 486-6979, http://www.santosannebk.com

Of Our Canoe: Senegalese Cuisine 

I’m a little jealous that Brooklyn has a much smaller Senegalese population than Harlem. It’s evident in the scarce number of West African restaurants that are thriving in Brooklyn, compared to that, which is at least twice as much, that are thriving Uptown. Nonetheless I’m happy that we do have a bit of Senegalese culture in the warm and sensual Cafe Rue Dix and colorful Bed-Stuy favorite Joloff, among other smaller spots.

Cafe Rue Dix
When I brought my son to Crown Heights Cafe Rue Dix for an impromptu date night, he of course did all the things a five-year-old boy would do in his unique position of power: woofed down his grilled salmon entree, served with unbelievable black olive mashed potatoes and Shirley Temple with extra cherries; danced to the very energizing Electronica drum music; successfully pulled me away from my Yassa Guinar—lemony chicken and onion confit over couscous or rice—to dance with him; and wooed the beautiful 20-somethings who were dining at a nearby table. When I return to the lovely Cafe Rue Dix, I want to sample the duck confit and the grilled lamb chops (and a side of the phenomenal black olive mashed potatoes!), sans my little Romeo. I’ll miss him but I can drink as many El diablos as I want—probably not more than two because thankfully, they’re strong.
Cafe Rue Dix, 1451 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY 11216, https://www.caferuedix.com

Joloff
Shame on me for not eating at this long-standing, family-friendly establishment, but my sister swears by Joloff’s fare, especially Senegal’s national dish Thiebou Djeun—a fish dish served with vegetables and Jollof rice. The food looks so comforting, just like homemade. Popular fusion options abound: Yassa Yapp, grilled lemony lamb chops, Yassa Sipaakh, grilled shrimp in lemon and onion sauce, and Curry Tofu.
Joloff Restaurant, 1168 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn NY 11216, Joloff’s Yelp page

Photo by Caleb Lucas on Unsplash

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Crazy for Crêpes: Part Deux

Whether savory or sweet, crêpes are whimsical, delightful and limitless because of the opportunity to be adventurous when choosing a crêpe’s filling. The crispy, fluffy and/or puffy envelope—that would never be left unopened if it were mail—is usually made to provide the most amazing, French vehicle for cheese, meat, or my favorite crêpe filling, Nutella. Last Saturday morning , I took my son on a short crêpe tour in the often overrun with stroller traffic Park Slope and we had good experiences at all three crêpe stops on the following list. Good luck crêpe-ing (not to be confused with creeping)!

The Pleasant Pheasant 

Le French Tart should be renamed Le French Tasty Tart! In this bright, spacious and light-filled environment meant for families, the authentic Parisian cuisine that you’ll devour outshines the decor. You’ll like the Eiffel Tower candle holders and hound dog bottle openers that are for sale, but you’ll adore la poulet, the mouthwatering chicken crêpe.

The crêpe itself is a very thin, buckwheat, authentic Parisian crêpe. I didn’t mind the dark (almost burnt) areas, because the burnt taste added to the overall flavor of the crêpe. Something about a little bit of burntness says homemade—like your working mother ran home to make it for you in a rush homemade.

The filling of the crêpe—slightly overcooked grilled chicken breast, béchamel and swiss cheese—was ooey, gooey delightful to see and taste. Perfect for a rainy and unseasonably cold Saturday morning in May. It was served with a mixed salad with forgettable dressing, but I appreciated the gesture of serving a decadent crêpe with fresh veggies. How French!

Was it the French way to serve my chicken crêpe on a paper plate? I have mixed feelings: it took away from the experience of imagining that we’d traveled back to Paris to admire the beauty and taste of a great crêpe; but it also was a cleaner option than a plate they’d wash and reuse.

Either way, the decor and overall setup of Le French Tart could be greatly improved by focusing on the creation of a central space that is easily reachable from all four corners of this family-style cafe.

Le French Tart, 579 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-french-tart-brooklyn?osq=le+French+tart

The Not-So Gratifying Goat Cheese and Spinach

After the rather subdued, as subdued as a bunch of toddlers and their families can be, experience at Le French Tart, walking in or rather dancing in to Couleur Café was quite energizing, to say the least. Current R&B and pop music played at just the right volume: loud enough to hear the wonderful bass beats, but still quiet enough to be remain a special part of the background. Also, enjoyable enough to chair dance to while you eat.

While the music was enjoyable, so was Couleur Café’s mix of retro and vintage-modern aesthetics, evident in turn of the century-styled moldings on the walls, floral print cushioned chairs, and the reclaimed banisters that punctuate the turquoise counter/bar.

The crêpe was not my favorite but only due to the spinach filling. I tend to avoid cooked spinach, unless it’s cooked in cream and butter with cheese and made into a dip. The crêpe was like a biscuit or the crust of a potpie: tasty and hearty enough to hold up to a wet filling. Even with the spinach, it didn’t turn soggy on me. A smoked salmon option was available but I wasn’t in the mood for it. But next time and yes, there will be a next time for us at this unique cafe, I’ll be ordering the smoked salmon crêpe.

Couleur Café servers are friendly, if not on point. Our drinks—a well deserved mimosa and a well-done (according to my son) Shirley Temple—came to our table after our grilled cheese and crêpe orders.

With all of its misses, I’d still say Couleur Café is cooler than most cafés.

Couleur Café, 435 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

https://www.yelp.com/biz/couleur-café-brooklyn-2?osq=cafe+couleur

Petite Sweet

Very kid-friendly. Very petite. And very appetizing Nutella crêpe. I love Nutella so I’m biased towards the entire taste of the crêpe as Nutella’s dominance of deliciousness over everything it’s paired with seduces me.

But my son noticed that the crêpe was not light, thin, or fluffy but rather densely packed down in layers, which made it difficult for him to eat. I noticed that I was chewing it for a while, but I didn’t care.

My Nutella crêpe was fancily drizzled with Nutella and powdered sugar after being folded into the classic triangular crêpe shape. Perhaps if we ate it when it was warm, it’d be easier to eat and enjoy.

Cusp Crêpe and Espresso Bar, 321 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215
https://www.yelp.com/biz/cusp-crepe-and-espresso-bar-brooklyn

Other Taste-ables (Crêpe places I’ll try, but haven’t yet.)
Eight turn Crêpe
http://www.eightturncrepe.com
A popular spot in Dekalb Market Hall, with the prettiest crêpe flower presentations—some with ice cream—you’ve ever seen.
Little Choc Apothecary

Cute, colorful and French-dressed—freedom of effortlessly combining old school elegance with youthful, cheeky charm—indoor garden seeks flavor-bound vegans that live to eat. Lots of tea, lots of smoothies and lots of green greatness await.

Chawanmushi: The Japanese Custard that French Chefs Love

I’ve got a plan. My plan is to find the best Chawanmushi in Brooklyn. Hopefully, it will be as good as or maybe even better than my memory of the egg custard with mushrooms, aka Porcini Flan, that I devoured at Bouley years ago.

It was decadent, silky and almost too easy to inhale in one truffle-loving moment. I adored it so much that most of my lengthy Yelp review of Bouley was about the magic that I tasted in the French chef’s nod to the ever-incredible Japanese Chawanmushi.

In order to fully appreciate the flan, the amazing French waiter instructed me to uncover the ramekin and lightly wave the lid back and forth to completely enjoy the aromas of the dish. Truffles never smelled so phenomenal.

Chawanmushi is traditionally prepared with soy sauce, dashi, mirin, ginkgo, shiitake mushrooms, other widely-used Asian veggies, and occasionally, boiled shrimp.

No wonder the French seem to love it. To me, it tasted mild but rich, complex and earthy, and had the rare ability to appeal to most of tastebuds. There’s just something about that cream, egg and mushroom combo that never fails to amaze and satisfy me—I love mushroom and runny egg on pizza too.

Surprise, Surprise. I can’t seem to find any Brooklyn French bistros that serve Chawanmushi. But I will visit the few Brooklyn Japanese restos on the following list, that serve traditional Chawanmushi—some with seafood, yum!

Sushi Lin
335 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11217

https://www.sushilinny.com

Shalom Japan
310 S 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

http://shalomjapannyc.com

Geido
331 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

https://www.yelp.com/biz/geido-brooklyn?osq=chawanmushi

Wassan Brooklyn
440 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

http://wasan-ny.com

Okonomi
150 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

The Better Brunch

Many years ago, I had my penultimate Manhattan brunch. (The very last one that I remember was at Cookshop, a great Chelsea restaurant, right below The High Line.) For some crazy reason, my sister and I chose to brave the crowded Theater District and agreed on a bustling “French” bistro for our Sunday brunch. It was overhyped, touristy and not even good for a hot chocolate. Not authentically French at all! From that moment on, we both swore off Manhattan brunches and promised to remember that brunch in Brooklyn, overall, is by far the better place for the meal that can make or break a girl’s weekend. But why is brunch specifically just plain better in Brooklyn?

The short answer is Brooklyn brunches are more French—due to a higher level of food quality, more personable service and often a unique, art-loving environment. The long answer is present in my top three discoveries about Brooklyn brunching, complete with brunch restaurant suggestions.

The Greener Good

Most Brooklyn restaurateurs are focused on using local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients with vegetarian options, which has one main benefit: quality, unequivocally fresh fare. And nothing tastes better when it’s organic, freshly plucked from a nearby farm, or grown and/or hand-processed on the restaurant’s premises than eggs, milk, cheese, fruit, bacon, etc.—basically all the components you need to make a fabulous breakfast or brunch.

For a sometimes intoxicating with sweets, sometimes fresh with veggies brunch make ressies for the famous Olmsted in Prospect Heights. Classified as a “vegetable-heavy” restaurant by its chef/owner, Olmsted has a lush green wall in its garden that isn’t just for show but its greens are actually used in dishes and listed on the menu. When I finally am able to go to this restaurant of veggie dreams, my first Olmsted brunch pick will be the very French-sounding Duck Duo. But if I were in the mood for a savory, laced with greens brunch, I would order the Spanakopita Shaksouka.
Olmsted, 718-552-2610, http://www.olmstednyc.com

Sans Tourist-Traps

Although I’m convinced that Brooklyn has the best NYC sights—French restaurants, Botanic Gardens and pizza (except for a couple of tourist-trap pizza spots in Dumbo)—there are so few longstanding gimmicky restaurants that seek to drain your pockets, while giving you little or nothing and getting away with it only because they’re close to a popular site for tourists.

Brooklyn’s lack of overhyped eateries has two prime perks: stability for family-run, neighborhood staples and a good amount of space for the younger generation of spots that serve everything from classic Eggs Benedict to Asian-fusion dishes for brunch.

Popular Crown Heights diner Tom’s, for example, has been serving the same fare since 1936, according to its website, and is still receiving the praise, that some say it deserves. Try the lemon ricotta pancakes and you probably won’t be disappointed. I couldn’t wait to try mine. The line to get in was long but went by in a decent amount of time.

Tom’s, 718-636-9738, https://tomsbrooklyn.com

Party of Four or More
Even with the hefty amount of unique nightlife experiences, most of Brooklyn is really for families. And where it’s meant for revelry till 4 a.m., cool “kids” create their own extended families. (An earlier BkFrench.com post, “Family-Friendly French” lists several eateries that cater to larger groups with children.) Carroll Gardens’ own Buttermilk Channel, one of the most famous of family-friendly Brooklyn restaurants, is crowded with a serpentine line for brunch. Most say though that its kid-friendly offerings, like the walnut sticky bun and the pecan pie french toast are well worth the wait. The kids menu itself is also intriguing. This restaurant’s name says it all, “Get the pancakes.” But rave reviews for Buttermilk’s chicken and waffles abound.

Buttermilk Channel, 718-852-8490, http://www.buttermilkchannelnyc.com

A walk down Smith Street in the Gowanus area, also known for family-friendly French cuisine, will bring you to the freshly opened, hubby-and-wife run French restaurant, Dumonet. Surrounded by the rustic charm of brick walls, mocha banquettes and tin ceilings, you’ll enjoy classic brunch items—Croques, brioche french toast, and poached eggs—as well as the stuff you’d only get at a French resto—cheese soufflé, tart flambée, and a very mouth-watering version French onion soup.
Dumonet, 718-625-0963, https://www.dumonetbrooklyn.com

Pint-Sized Picks 

An exploration of Brooklyn brunches often leads to an exciting encounter with a hipster-loved storefront window eatery or rather with the five-star worthy egg sandwich that it serves and proudly touts as its paramount creation.

Don’t overlook the small cafes or even the storefront window restos that remain in high demand with thick lines down the block, regardless of their short menu of only a few or sometimes two, well-executed items. They disregard the unwritten rule of creating an extensive menu that attempts to please the masses, choose to go with what they know, and are often successful because of it.

For brunch on a quaint scale, indulge yourself in The Little Sweet Cafe in Boerum Hill. With fluffy crepes, a popular dirty chai and an indecisive half Anthropologie and half Paris vibe, I wanted to stay here all afternoon, despite it being a wifi/computer free zone. Definitely meant for francophiles that savor a quiet, minimalist ambience with touches of rich, artsy culture everywhere.

The Little Sweet Cafe, 718-858-8998, https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-little-sweet-cafe

Photo by John Baker on Unsplash

Apres Easter

If you have not had the chance to celebrate life or being an adult of legal drinking age since Mardi Gras, then you might find the following list of bars and bakeries useful for your post-Lent and Easter festivities. Or, if you’re not religious at all, then think of this list as my celebration of French culture’s creation of the dessert course—yet another reason to love French culture. Whether you want a liquor-laced, calorie-laden cocktail dessert or a dessert cocktail, this list has you covered. Read on to find your too good to be good for you indulgence of choice.

Crown Heights Confections
Butter and Scotch
https://www.butterandscotch.com
The name says it all! Half bakery that specializes in boozy treats! Half cocktail bar that specializes in dessert cocktails. Between the milkshakes, the famous if not devilishly infamous in a bad-meaning-good way the hotline bling cake, and the sweet and perfect birthday cake, you won’t be able to commit to one choice. Pretend you’re at a wedding cake tasting and sample them all. Of course lent will be over, so it’s ok to be a little mischievous. What is a confessional is for, if not for sweet, sweet treats.

Atlantic Ave. Treatery
Elsa
https://elsabarnyc.com
Try the frozen craft cocktails, lush with fruit, herbs, and quality liquor. If you don’t drink too much—which is not an easy task at this classy throwback to the roaring twenties den of mixology—there is little to no chance of getting wasted. Elsa’s art deco vibe was created for the experienced drinker that prefers after dinner cordials. Enjoy light snacks from Stinky Brooklyn while sipping a fine, make your week cocktail.

Candy-Coated Cobble Hill

Mia’s Bakery
http://www.miasbrooklyn.com
Brooklyn Blackout, Strawberry Shortcake, and two cro-nuts was my most recent order from Mia’s. The diner-style strawberry shortcake was my favorite of the bunch but I have never gotten anything from here that didn’t make me smile. It can be frenetic at this busy, Smith Street, open till 1a.m. on a Saturday night cafe/bakery that sells traditional sweets sans alcohol. Promise that you’ll get a different kind of buzz if you stop in for a cupcake nightcap.

Cookie Monsters on 5th

Du Jour Bakery
http://dujourbakery.com
Park Slope is littered with bakeries, restaurants, and family-style eateries of all kind. Du Jour is a standout because its macaroons are so darn cute, and the fresh, baked on the premises pastries—like the monkey bread—are crave-worthy. Did I mention Du Jour pastries are extremely fresh? So fresh that if you blink while standing in the occasionally long line for coffee and sweets, or call a half an hour in advance to reserve your son’s birthday cake, your special sweet thing could be gone. No matter how important it is to you or your child, it’s just gone, without a sign of life or a crumb of sugar as evidence of its existence. Yes, I’m being dramatic because from time to time, I still think of the Du Jour cake we didn’t get to savor on his birthday. We instead got a regular Brooklyn Blackout cake from Du Jour that my family loved.

Park Slope’s Finest

The Chocolate Room
https://www.thechocolateroombrooklyn.com
In the words of Linda Grayson, “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” My inner chocoholic would change the last part to say, “… unless it is a friend made of chocolate.” The Chocolate Room has been satisfying the universal, classic craving since 2005 and reopened in 2014 at a new 5th Avenue location. What it lacks in its part cafe, part diner and part store environment, The Chocolate Room makes up for in its sometimes delightful, sometimes lust-worthy offerings. If you want a truly decadent, thick and intense hot chocolate (available with rum), there’s no place that does it better. But if you’re in a nostalgic mood, the popular brownie hot chocolate sundae or the frenchified banana split with brûleéd bananas will make you feel like a kid again. Thirsty for a chocolate martini? Turn up with the rich, creamy and topped with cinnamon Brandy Alexander. A perfect good night.

 

Photo by Alireza Etemadi on Unsplash.

Ooo Baby I like it Raw or Not

The only time that stinky is sexy is when cheese is involved. Even the simple, local supermarket varieties of aged cheddar and smoked gouda can have mind-blowing effects when satisfying a 3 a.m. craving. The life-changing kind, however, that you finally uncover and say to yourself, “I could’ve been eating this all along?!”—yes fellow stinky cheese lover, I’m referencing Époisses—is available at one of the best Brooklyn cheese shops around, Stinky Brooklyn.

This Cobble Hill cheese lover’s paradise and specialty foods shop carries a few other cheeses that fit the bill—imported from France, stinky and oh-so runny—but Époisses is the epitome of French stinky and runny cheeses. If it were one of your college friends, Époisses would be the one most likely to get white-girl wasted and dance all over the place, while letting everything hang out. When I say everything, I mean all of its bold zest. About 200 years worth of unforgettable flavor, culture and incredible cheese-making tradition is packaged in a wooden, round and too small if you ask me box.

I knew that my beloved Époisses was hiding in the crowd of delicious-smelling cheeses in Stinky Brooklyn’s display case as soon as I walked in and smelled SB’s gourmet stink. It was the pleasantly pungent smell of grilled cheese, possibly Emmental or gruyere and sausages. Talk about a savory, mouth-watering, I’m finally where I belong aroma!

The gourmet grilled cheese smell was a nice distraction from my cheese mission: to find a perfect parmesan cheese for a holiday lasagna. After many tastings, the cheesemonger at the counter helped me choose the house parm—an aged parmesan cheese with an almost grassy undercurrent. It was unique, sharp and really satisfying to the palate. It was actually, the first parmesan cheese that I’d tried that day.

After choosing the right parmesan cheese—I know because my family raved about it—I wanted a secret stash of stinky cheese for me and me alone. I wondered about a Pierre- Robert triple creme cheese that I haven’t tasted in years. But when I asked instead for Époisses‘ basic description without saying its name, the cheesemonger said “We got you” with so much confidence that I knew I’d be taking home my lost love.

And so, I took it home with me that night and finished it the next day. I tried to hold out, maybe try it with champagne, but I had to have my Époisses right then. I could never get enough of it, so I’ll definitely visit Stinky Brooklyn again, in the near future, for lunch today, maybe.

When a Bahn Mi Quacks

Lately I’ve been ducking down. No I’m not hiding from anyone or anything, but rather on the hunt and taking advantage of every opportunity to chow down on a piece of luscious, fatty and decadent duck. If I see my favorite fowl on the menu, then I have to have it.

Foie gras two ways and seared duck breast in one very fancy and well-executed meal didn’t satisfy my craving before ordering the duck confit Báhn Mi at Park Slope’s Bricolage. I even asked my server for a recommendation but once I saw the duck Báhn mi option, I had to have it.

When duck is added to a dish or in this case, a delicious multi-culti sandwich, the plate soars to new heights, with a richer, more complex flavor.

The duck confit Báhn mi at Bricolage, a “Vietnamese Gastropub” with an ugly-pretty, fashion forward interior and an oasis backyard garden, was no exception. In the sandwich, there wasn’t enough tender and sweet duck for me—when is there ever—but it was a purely delicious version of the classic Vietnamese sandwich. I couldn’t see the spicy mayo but it was definitely present and spot-on. The soft and fresh baguette reminded me of the really good hero sandwich that I’d been craving all week. The veggies—fresh cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon—tossed with a vinegar-y dressing added a healthy crunch with the right amount of sweet tang. Everything they are supposed to be in a Bahn Mi.

So having two of my favorite things to eat in one sandwich put me on the highest cloud nine possible.

My only wish was for a smear of duck pate on the inside of the baguette. Why don’t most Bahn Mi sandwiches include duck or pork pate anymore? When I had my first Báhn mi in Midtown East Manhattan, these beautiful bridges between Vietnam and France included pate, unless of course it was the vegetarian option. The rich and creamy pate added so much more flavor to every single bite, especially where it hugged up next to the spicy mayo.

But it’s hard to miss anything in a Báhn mi because the synergy of all the key components creates an unmatched experience for almost every taste bud. Sweet and sour in the pickled veggies, savory and salty in the caramelized meat, heat from the spicy mayo, and the added the freshness of the cilantro. The stuff of foodie dreams.

By the time I noticed just how lovely Bricolage’s backyard garden truly is, I was halfway done gobbling up my duck Báhn mi, a stupid mistake that I won’t make twice, thrice or however many times I get to revisit this gem.

 

Photo by Carly Jayne on Unsplash.