In the latest instance of a New Orleans food hall vendor graduating from stall to standalone establishment, the chef behind T2 Streetfood in St. Roch Market has opened his first restaurant. Em Trai Sandwich Co., one of Eater’s most anticipated restaurants for the fall, is now serving its menu of New Orleans-influenced Vietnamese cuisine in the Marigny, as first reported by Gambit.
Tung Nguyen has operated T2 Streetfood out of St. Roch Market since 2016, quickly earning praise as one of the city’s newest players for modern Vietnamese fare. For Em Trai, Nguyen is expanding on T2’s offerings of pho, banh mi, and bao to include additional Vietnamese dishes, playful nightly specials, and seasonal Viet-Cajun seafood boils. Nguyen uses some of the city’s favorite purveyors for his menu, including pho made with Central City BBQ smoked meat, bahn mi bread from Hi-Do Bakery, sourdough bread from St. Bruno Bread Co., and Patton’s hot sausage (for a hot sausage banh mi, of course).
The corner restaurant is on St. Claude Avenue next to the Healing Center and directly across the street from St. Roch Market. It was briefly home to the expansions of Frenchmen Street music venue Spotted Cat and vegan restaurant Seed. With Em Trai, Nguyen hopes a casual, counter-service operation with a reasonably priced menu and ample seating will make it a neighborhood go-to. A liquor license is in process.
Em Trai Sandwich Co. (2372 St. Claude Avenue) is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday.
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