If you’re looking for delicious, affordable Vietnamese food in a casual, neighborhood environment, make sure to go to Nightingale 9 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
The restaurant itself is modeled to the stripped-down neighborhood restaurants of Hanoi, using reclaimed materials in the dinning room, and numbering their tables. They even have their own herb garden in the restaurant’s yard.
Everything on the menu looked great, and I started with some of my favorite veggies and ordered their Crispy Brussels Sprouts (lime, garlic, benne seeds). These were awesome. The brussels were indeed crispy on the outside, but tender in the middle and juicy, absorbing all of the savory and spicy flavors.
Then, I had the Seared Long Island Squid (caramelized sugar, rice cakes, celery, chili, peanuts). This dish was amazing, I loved it so much. At the bottom of the dish, you have a sweet squid ink, which I was encouraged to mix up all of the ingredients into the ink sauce. The dish as a whole is a little on the sweeter side, but totally delicious and balanced with the smokiness of the squid and the crunch of the raw peanuts and celery. So, maybe the most unique thing about this dish was the rice cakes. It was basically a tapioca, congealed rice protein type of texture, completely smooth, soft, but a little bit chewy, and cut into discs (that actually resembled sliced, small potatoes). I never had anything like it, and loved it.
Name: Nightingale 9
Location: 345 Smith Street, Brooklyn
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, in a Vietnamese minute…ok, maybe that phrase doesn’t actually work, but, it’s technically a Vietnamese restaurant IN New York, so…yeah, I’d go back. For sure.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely! The staff is friendly, great service, awesome food.