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The Early Word on Nightingale 9 in Carroll Gardens

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Daniel Krieger

Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond recently opened a Vietnamese restaurant in Carroll Gardens by the name of Nightingale 9. This is something of a departure for Diamond and Newton, who operate the Southern-influenced restaurants Seersucker and Smith Canteen down the block. So far, early diners have good things to say about the food, although a few people complain about the portion sizes and the prices. Here's a roundup of the early word:

The Good News: One Yelper finds the menu thoughtful and interesting: "The pho was very clean tasting. But the broth was different from what I expected. It didn't taste like the 12-hour broths that I typically have, but it was a seasoned broth with clean tasting elements. The pork in the Vermicelli bowl, tasty...Fresh, innovative ingredients are used. My fried rice had green beans in it. And the soy sauce I used was from Kentucky, of a bluegrass variety...This place is super cozy too. Great to just invite a friend, catch up, and enjoy a simple meal." [Yelp]

The Okay News: Another Yelper has mixed feelings about the dishes. On the pho: "It's dramatically inferior to the $5.50 bowl of pho I had on Baxter Street yesterday. N9's broth is cloudy and watery, and tastes mostly of cinnamon. The noodles are limp. The beef on top is meltingly tender and full of flavor, but it's not nearly enough to save this dish." The saving grace is the catfish vermicelli bowl: "The huge, bright flavors and varied textures were so far beyond any version of bun I've ever tried, even at fancy places like the Slanted Door. It was like a revelation. It was good enough to make up for the overpriced mediocrity of the other two dishes. The catfish was lightly glazed, similar to Vietnamese 'caramel'-style proteins." [Yelp]

The Bad News: A reader writes in: "Ate dinner last night. Place has potential but seemed poorly executed. Cash only (temporary?), no Vietnamese beer, awkward seating for the level of service they are going for and poor value proposition in terms of portion size vs price. On top of all that, the noodles in the pho and another dish were WAY overcooked. At least they could have gotten that right. Some good flavors but needs tweaking." [Eater Tipline]

The Great News: For Caitlin Heikkila at Becoming Bklyn, it's all about the catfish: "Knowing the restaurant's history with spectacular catfish, I had to get it, and I'm glad I did because it was my favorite– with two pieces of golden browned catfish placed on a bowl of soft white noodles with peanuts, scallions, and dill. It was so pretty, I almost didn't want to eat it, but obviously there was no way that was ever going to happen. A caddy of Vietnamese sauces was brought with the meal, adding the option to add a little more sweet, spicy, or savory to your dinner." She describes the entire menu as "solid and unique, with Southern touches that take Nightingale 9 beyond just-another-Vietnam spot." [Becoming Bklyn]

The Skimpy News: Several reviewers mention the small portion sizes, including this hungry Yelper who writes: "When I got the Pho I ordered, it came in a pretty normal sized bowl for noodle soups, but it was filled probably less than half way. Honestly, I could have eaten the entire thing in about 8 spoonfuls. Maybe this is really authentic because people in Vietnam eat less, but I don't know." [Yelp]

The Slightly Overpriced News: Brendan Spiegel at Brooklyn Based describes a couple of successful dishes, but, like other reviewers, finds the prices somewhat steep: "I started with the Berkshire pork vermicelli bowl: marinated pork belly meatballs with grilled collards that were charred on the edges, vibrantly green and juicy in the middle. It's a very nice dish, but at $12, definitely not a full meal for one, so I moved on to the fried rice with lard, country ham, mustard greens and Feather Ridge egg. The lard binds the white rice together in rich, gooey little clumps interspersed with bright green lima beans and hefty portions of scrambled eggs. Another successful dish, but not sure if I can justify the $11-for-half-a-portion price tag considering there's not an expensive ingredient in the bowl, and you can get some damn good fried rice in this city for a helluva lot less." [Brooklyn Based]

The Kraderific News: Ms. Krader Tweets: "Love Vietnamese curry duck bowl w/cracklings & fresh coconut. Plus great crowd." She also shares several food pictures. [Twitter]

The Foursquare News: Meghan K: "Get the marinated beef appetizer: Be happy." Borahm C.: "Not bad at all. However one dish is not enough. The beef salad (a bit salty for my taste) and the pork soup are great." [Foursquare]

· All Coverage of Nightingale 9 [~ENY~]
— Marguerite Preston

Nightingale 9

345 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (347) 689-4699 Visit Website

Nightingale 9

345 Smith St., New York, NY