Sunday, March 25, 2012

BEP- not just a cheesy rap band anymore.

Ian, Trevor, and I recently met up with Nina and Allison over at Bep, a Vietnamese pop-up restaurant in Williamsburg. Bep is a restaurant within a restaurant that serves dinner Monday through Friday (lunch too, but only on Mondays). The rest of the week this location is given over to the original tenant, Simple cafe, whose sign hangs above the door. The restaurant is run by a truly lovely couple, An and Janis, who I have known socially a few years now. This was my second visit to BEP though Ian comes quite often.

Chicken wings aren't usually something I associate with Vietnamese food but if you find yourself at Bep, you'll want to make sure you order some of these. In fact, you may want to order MANY of these. The wings here are fried and come six to an order. They are lightly glazed with a sweet, tangy sauce and sprinkled with scallions, and as succulent as you could ever wish a wing to be. The preparation is similar in style to the Korean style fried chicken wings being dished up at Bonchon, Kyochon, and others, only in my view the wings at Bep are juicier.  If not for the presence of ladies at the table, I may very well have gnawed on the bones.

oh so tasty chicken wings

Nina and Allison enjoy some wings

Team Pho
We also ordered some Cha Gio, or fried spring rolls, and a salad of mango and cabbage we found on special that evening. The spring rolls were good but the salad was outstanding. It was a sweet and crispy Vietnamese version of a refreshing summer slaw. The presentation with a large fried cracker that could be used to scoop up the salad was nice as well. Scooping salad is fun!

mango and cabbage salad
Spring is here.
Since life isn't really worth living without Pho, all of us decided to order it for dinner, and Pho is one of the truly great thing about Bep. They aren't serving up the industrialized version of broth that you find in the Pho factories of Manhattan, where hundreds of bowls are doled out daily and they never skimp on MSG.

This is dinner Pho.

Bep doesn't have a chaotic lunchtime scene that necessitates the application of assembly line techniques in the kitchen, or even worse, the watering down of the soup. At Bep, the flavor of the broth is intense but not overpowering. The spices have had time to get to know one another, to mingle for a while until they melt into a complex bouquet. It's a Pho that didn't have to grow up too fast. The noodles and the meat are on point too, and unlike most other Pho restaurants, you can add real chili peppers instead of Jalapenos. Heat misers be warned: a couple of morsels of chili should do, unless you like a good schvitz.

Pho makes me happy.

Real chilis
And we're off

Good to the last....


We love BEP and you should too. The next time you're in Williamsburg and "need" some Asian food, do yourself a favor and avoid the handful of throwaway Thai restaurants that infest Bedford Avenue. Instead head straight over to BEP... you can thank me later.

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