Restaurants and Cafes, Sunset Park
Thanh Da in Sunset Park is one of my favorite Vietnamese spots in the city. I used to only go for the (delicious) banh mi, neglecting everything else on the menu. Then one day I saw that they offered bun rieu, a Vietnamese crab and tomato noodle soup that I hadn’t seen anywhere else in New York.
And what a shame too. This dish is immensely flavorful, with bright tomato-y broth, bits of crab paste, tender pork, fried tofu puffs, and a hearty amount of rice noodles, all topped with fresh mint and bean sprouts. To compare: the last time I had a bowl of bun rieu was in Hanoi at a street stall. Thanh Da’s version is almost as good, without requiring a plane ride to Vietnam.
Made in Brooklyn
Last Sunday my friend Veronica organized a tour at Industry City Distillery on the western edge of Sunset Park. The area reminded me of both Red Hook and Gowanus, with big warehouse spaces turned into production/artists spaces, and right on the water. Definitely a place I wouldn’t mind spending a Sunday afternoon, especially when vodka-tasting is involved.
Industry City Distillery is unusual in that they use beet sugar to make vodka, which unlike grain and starch, produces no solid waste. Their product launched in April and is already getting a lot of notice in the NY area. (Check out the map of where to buy their vodka, in addition to online.) We toured their facility, which held their fermentation and distillation equipment and the metal shop where they built all their production equipment by hand. They even have a letterpress machine (!) for printing all their labels.