Thursday, September 08, 2011

First Taste of Phuc Yea!

Are pop-up restaurants the new food truck? The pop-up, or temporary eatery,  has become ubiquitous in cities like San Francisco, DC, New York and LA so it would seem natural for Miami to jump on the guerrilla gourmet trend, albeit a few years late to the scene, as to be expected.
The first contender: Phuc Yea!, a Vietnamese sit-down from former Blue Piano maestros Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata. He cooks, she takes care of everything else. Rounding out the team is newbie Daniel Treiman, a recent transplant from New York with experience cooking at Momofuku and Eleven Madison Park (so yes, he's foodie-approved). The recipes are inspired by her Vietnamese mother's cooking. The space is a downtown falafel counter transformed into a cozy, dimly-lit Asian spot with Ikea curtains and butcher block paper on the tables. The place will stay open through December 8, which means you have only the next three months to check it out.
The decor: Ikea chic.
It's all earnest and fun and I'm a big supporter of anything Aniece does because her taste in wine and food is top notch as evidenced by her stints at Fratelli Lyon and Blue Piano. I first encountered Cesar's cooking at Blue Piano through a torrid, decadent parade of small plates, all of which were delicious. So yes, the kitchen is in good hands. I got a sneak peek at the menu last night and enjoyed every delicate, elegant bite. Fellow blogger Blind Tastes joined me to graze and we sampled a smattering of dishes, all of which had clean, vivid flavors and were not too heavy. Notes of fish sauce tempered with vinegar, fried shallots adding crunch and texture, cilantro and shiso leaves giving everything a fresh, herby kick.
Fish n' chips = fried sardines and lotus chips.

Crispy Pig Ear Salad with watermelon and daikon.

Duck Confit with picked bock choy, mushrooms, daikon and more of those addictive lotus chips.
Address: 19 SE 2nd Ave, downtown
(786) 383-2408


SteveBM said...

I thought the food was great as was the company. :)

Looking forward to going back!

sara said...

And next time I'll be on time!