LUCKYRICE alum An Choi to Open Di An Di in Greenpoint

We’re unapologetic braggers when it comes to our network of emerging talent in Asian and Asian-inspired cuisines. So many great chefs have debuted or incubated at LUCKYRICE Grand Feasts over the course of the last decade. Few of these inaugural upstarts delight us like the Lower East Side gem, Ăn Chơi. The restaurant is as well known for elevating staples like pho and banh mi, as the team behind it are known for their incredible design acumen (not to mention they throw a damn good Christmas party).

Fast forward to plans for 2018. An extension of the Ăn Chơi team ventures into a new Vietnamese restaurant experience: Đi Ăn Đi is scheduled to open doors in early Spring 2018. We had a chance to preview their menu, and talked to co-owners Tuan Bui, Kim Hoang and Dennis Ngo about what we can expect.

I might be mis-remembering this but I think Dennis told me “Đi Ăn Đi” means “Let’s dance”? Does this mean there will be dancing?? 
Also, is there by any chance a nod in here to D&D (Dungeons and Dragons?)  

Haha this is really funny. Đi Ăn Đi is actually a common and endearing phrase in Vietnamese that translates to “let’s go eat!”

Chef Dennis Ngo serving on the world’s largest tray. Sebastian Kim points the way. Photo: @jaynelies

 

What are your respective roles in the restaurant?

The three of us (Kim Hoang, Tuan Bui and Dennis Ngo) are co-owners and partners. Tuan and I are a husband and wife team that will manage the Front of House; and Dennis is our chef partner who will run the Back of House.

Đi Ăn Đi co-owners, Chef Dennis Ngo, Kim Hoang and Tuan Bui. Photo: @jaynelies


What’s this mean for Ăn Chơi if anything?

Ăn Chơi will be business as usual and going strong in it’s 8th year!   It’ll remain a go-to neighborhood spot in the Lower East Side for people that crave Vietnamese food classics/staples such as Bánh Mì , Phở, and Bún bowls.  With Đi Ăn Đi we want to be more ambitious with the cuisine.

Đi Ăn Đi’s grilled lemongrass chicken Xoi Chien Ga Nuong was delixious. Photo: @jaynelies

 

Why Greenpoint?

The three of us live in Williamsburg and notice there is a real void in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint neighborhood for Vietnamese cuisine.  We spent a year looking at different spaces in Brooklyn and fell in absolute love with 68 Greenpoint Avenue

Friendship and cocktails to complement great food. Photo: @jaynelies
The LUCKYRICE content team! l. to r. Rene, Jacky and Anne. Photo: @jaynelies
The crowd at the Di An Di tasting preview at Space Ninety8 is ensconced in friendship and delicious Vietnamese bites. Photo: @jaynelies

 

And finally, what do you want food enthusiasts to know about your new endeavor and what it means for Vietnamese food and culture?

 We hope to help develop and foster a Vietnamese community that is similar to what we experienced growing up in our respective hometowns of Houston,Texas and  Northern Virginia. The best way we know how to do so is through food. We want to showcase Phở and other Vietnamese noodle soups that are equally delicious but might be under the radar for some.  Besides soups, we plan to feature unique appetizers, grilled meats and rice entrees.