Let's continue this crazy week of openings, shall we?
One year ago, 300 E Pike was a parking garage. This week the transition to Stateside, a French-Vietnamese restaurant that feels like a portal to some place subtropical, is complete—though if you look closely at the scuffed cement floors you can see where the parking lines used to be.
Chef Eric Johnson's resume is...pretty damn impressive. He worked for Daniel Boulud in New York before opening restaurants for Jean-Georges Vongerichten in Paris and Shanghai. Having lived in two countries that exerted no small influence over the food of Vietnam, he's readying a mix of faithfully executed Vietnamese staples and dishes that take some French and Chinese liberties.
Stateside starts taking reservations Monday, December 1, though diners can walk in for dinner this weekend (standard cautions about setting expectations during a soft opening apply). Meanwhile, here's a bit about what's happening in the kitchen and behind the bar, plus a critical update on the grout in the bathroom...
Eat: Grilled pork over rice noodles...or duck legs a l'orange. A few of Stateside's dishes are faithfully executed Hanoi staples like bun cha (here it's pork patties and belly marinated in caramel and fish sauce, served over rice vermicelli) and cha ca la vong (black cod in a distinct turmeric marinade and served with dill, mint, and cilantro). Others pull in French traditions, like a duck leg confit with bok choy and Vietnamese coriander.
Drink: Like it's 80 degrees. Behind the zinc-topped bar, George Engelstad (most recently at the Hideout) is readying a lineup of cocktails suitable for balmy verandas: daiquiris, sours, mules, and a milk punch made with rum, coffee, and condensed milk, like a boozy Vietnamese coffee. Lest things get too serious, Johnson also promises a drink served in a coconut with a straw and tiny umbrella. His business partner Seth Hammond is overseeing the front of house and the wine situation.
Sit: In the back booths for privacy, or the bar-height banquettes for a superior vantage point. The room is rather elegant, especially for a former parking garage—all palm frond wallpaper, tropical plants, and muted green tones, with an Edison bulb-bedecked bar. And if you happen to visit the lavatory, marvel at the rockin' turquoise grout.
Bonus Intel: Late night and lunch menus should follow in late January. Johnson promises these will contain more noodle soups and banh mi.