New York City is home to a lot of restaurants, more than any rational human being can ever hope to visit. Among that number are hidden gems the majority of New Yorkers just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share with us their under the radar recommendations for Dining Confidential.
This week, chef Chris Bradley of the new restaurant Untitled at the Whitney takes a trip down memory lane as he speaks of his love for Nha Trang in the Vietnamese section of Chinatown.
"I began making pilgrimages to NYC in the mid-90’s because my last ditch effort college in the mountains of North Carolina owned a Tribeca loft students could stay in for $15 dollars a night. A professor took me out to Nha Trang for the first time, and from then on I was smitten. When I moved to New York in 2000 to work at Café Boulud, I was surprised to find several other cooks - with whom I shared my one day off - also shared my passion for Vietnamese on the edge of Chinatown. We formed a weekly dining society that started the day at Nha Trang and ended with a stroll to Donut Plant. The phos are hearty and satisfying, the pork chops meltingly tangy, and I start all my out of town guests with a hearty bowl of sweet and sour shrimp soup.
The dish that I would want on death row though would be their crispy squid in garlic sauce. The squid are cut into perfect little flower shapes with the lightest of breading that stays crispy through the whole meal. Piled on top of a salad of shredded iceburg, lightning bolts of carrot and daikon and slicked with a garlicy vinaigrette. Just pour on some chili paste and fish sauce and give me the fresh soda lemonade to wash it down - and I can die happy."