A modern, distinctively Vietnamese-American version of pho — like the kind found in Houston — is finally available in New York via Di An Di.
A modern, distinctively Vietnamese-American version of pho — like the kind found in Houston — is finally available in New York via Di An Di. The Greenpoint restaurant, located at 68 Greenpoint Ave. near the intersection of Franklin, is owned by An Choi vets Dennis Ngo, Kim Hoang, and Tuan Bui, the former two hailing from Houston and Bui from northern Virginia.
The premises was formerly Hail Mary, an experimental diner that closed in early 2017, and the space still has a small but welcoming front porch, where a neon bowl of pho blazes. Plants hang in profusion from the ceiling. Further in, find a high-ceilinged room with a glassed-in kitchen running along one wall. Tables are arranged in the remaining L-shaped space, which is lit magnificently with natural light via windows in the ceiling, perfect for pre-sunset Instagramming. The space is attractive, with no kitsch or sentimentalism…But the pho is what makes Di An Di particularly unique to the city. Most of the pho found in NYC dates from the decades following the 1975 fall of Saigon, when refugees, many from the Mekong Delta, came to the U.S., bringing the soup with them. Their version, often associated with Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), sported a complicated set of add-ins, including multiple sauces and vinegars, leafy fresh herbs, sprouts, green chiles, and a variety of beef cuts, as if the basic recipe begged for customization. Nevertheless, it was delectable and New Yorkers quickly grew to love it.
Even the most promising new restaurants in Greenpoint take a while to catch on – people usually don’t want to travel for a spot they’re not totally sure about. Di An Di is different. This attractive, plant-covered new Vietnamese restaurant is already slammed, but the better news is that it’s also already worth waiting for. They serve a pretty big menu that’s a mix of traditional Vietnamese dishes, like summer rolls and pho, and Di An Di originals, like a Vietnamese “pizza” made with grilled crispy rice paper for the crust. Everything we’ve tried is great – but you absolutely shouldn’t leave without getting at least one bowl of pho (and make sure to add the fried donut for dipping). The cocktails are great too. Overall, this is the most excited we’ve been about a new Vietnamese restaurant since Hanoi House.