If you’re anything like me, you like the idea of brunch, but you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with overpriced omelets and you’re going to scream if you’re presented with yet another lackluster take on eggs benedict.
Enter Falansai, one of NYC’s best Vietnamese restaurants, according to the Michelin Guide. Starting this summer, Falansai is giving the brunch treatment to their French- and Chinese-influenced Vietnamese home cooking.
Chef and owner Henry Trieu’s interpretation of the meal between meals is refreshing, invigorating, a delicious adventure. Most of the brunch menu is made up of pre-existing lunch items — bun, pho, banh mi, all spectacular in their own right. It’s the items on the Brunch Specials section of the menu that really stand out.
For example, flour-free crab quiche. Ordered from anywhere else, your quiche will most likely have spinach, some bell peppers, sausage, and maybe some goat cheese if you’re lucky. At Falansai, the quiche is filled with crab, shiitake mushrooms, and a delightful tangle of glass noodles. The crab, of course, brings a sweet oceanic vibe to the party, while the mushrooms add some depth and the rice vermicelli lend a springy texture to the dish.
With the caramelized pork belly dish, Trieu transports us to Vietnam via the American South. This dish is his version of grits, hominy and sticky rice cooked to a silky-smooth consistency in coconut milk. Creamy with just a hint of sweetness, it’s a perfect vehicle for the fatty pork belly, which explodes in porky goodness and Vietnamese flavors, like citrusy lemongrass.
Then there are the showstoppers, the three Vietnamese crepes on the menu — spinach and lemongrass tofu, mushrooms and beets, and escargot and basil. I couldn’t sample them all (I’ve only got one stomach, after all), so naturally I went furthest from my comfort zone and chose the escargot.
The first thing you’ll notice about this crepe is that it’s a vibrant blue. The color doesn’t come from food dye but from butterfly-pea flowers, a Southeast Asian staple most often brewed into a tea. (Each of the crepes are colored naturally, beets for red and spinach for green.) The next thing you’ll notice is that its substantial, stuffed liberally with chickpea puree, bean sprouts, and escargot.
Vietnamese-style crepes are thicker than traditional French crepes, making them ideal for being heavily filled. The chickpea puree was smooth and just a bit tangy, a perfect balance for the escargot, which were buttery, tender, and deeply earthy. The basil, with its sweet herbaceousness, married those flavors together, and the fresh, crisp sprouts gave it an interesting texture.
Cap off your brunch with one (or several) drinks from Falansai’s newly revamped cocktail menu, like the Drunken Master, blackberry green tea with vodka and tapioca boba, which is delicate and refreshing (and stronger than you think), or the passionfruit mimosa, a tart update of the classic mimosa. And don’t miss the Vietnamese coffee.
If you’re stuck in a brunch rut, head over to Falansai any Saturday or Sunday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and experience a wholly unique and delectable brunch experience. Best of all, you can do it on their gorgeous new patio, open for the first time this summer.
Michelin recommended restaurant serving Vietnamese home cooking with French and Chinese Influence. Now with brunch!
112 Harrison Place, Brooklyn (off the Morgan Ave stop on the L train)
Tue-Thu: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Fri: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
+1 347 599-1190