It's hard to believe that Namese, the modern Vietnamese restaurant that just opened on Carrollton and Tulane, used to be the location of, as Ian McNulty calls it this week, a rather "unremarkable" corner store. Turns out, the store was owned by Cu Doan and Soi Tran, a couple who emigrated here from Vietnam in 1975. Their son and NOLA native, Hieu Doan, is the mastermind behind the amazing transformation from family-run store into family-approved facelift.
McNulty points out that Namese's on-trend cuisine (they have banh mi bruschetta, and soon-to-be coveted sriracha on every table) and revamp reflect "the changing fortunes for its neighborhood," also known as Mid City, baby, what what. As for the transformation:
To become Namese, the old store was given a thorough overhaul, with stylish tiling and light fixtures inside, a small bar serving Asian-flavored cocktails and a new deck out front. The look and feel is as modern as the food, and it makes a high profile statement of reinvestment right at the top of Tulane Avenue. Also of note... Heiu Doan's mama makes the pho because 'it's her thing.' The restaurant does have a brief cocktail list, wine and beer, and they're planning to do "a breakfast menu with a Vietnamese reworking of morning dishes" sometime soon. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jump on it.
· What's Cooking: Pho and changing fortunes for Tulane Avenue [Advocate]
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