Arkansas-bred Seersucker chef and co-owner Robert Newton, it turns out, is something of a Vietnamese-food fanatic, and spent a month in that country last summer, eating his way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The trip laid the groundwork for Nightingale 9, opening next week across the street from Smith Canteen, Seersucker’s café-bakery offshoot. At the new spot, which is named for the old Brooklyn telephone exchange NI 9, the chef will employ New York State beef in a rice-noodle soup, layer fried Hudson Valley chicken in a Vietnamese sandwich, and encase crab and wood-ear mushrooms in a Hanoi-style turnover (pictured). Some ingredients could have been pilfered from Seersucker’s kitchen, including the collards in the grilled pork roll, the country ham in the fried rice, and the benne seeds in the sweetened-condensed-milk ice-cream dessert—not to mention the catfish, which is featured in Newton’s rendition of Hanoi’s iconic cha ca la Vong.
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This article originally appeared in the February 18, 2013 issue of New York Magazine.