Jolie Laide’s Vince Nguyen at work

Image: Karen Brooks

Berlu, a small modernist restaurant from Vince Nguyen, hopes to open in late March or early April. The project, an evolution from the chef’s hardcore locavore-modern pop-up called Jolie Laide, will sit at 685 SE Belmont St, alongside one of the year’s most anticipated openings—a second outpost of Southern Thai fried chicken and curry joint, Hat Yai.

In the meantime, Nguyen is creating two Thai-influenced tasting menu dinners (tickets here) on Monday, February 11 (omnivore, $75) and Monday, February 18 (vegan, $65) at Langbaan, owned by Hat Yai’s Earl Ninsom. Jolie Laide popped up regularly at Langbaan, and Nguyen says he was inspired by the restaurant’s Thai chefs. He’s not replicating classics, but using Thai flavors, textures, and eating styles to inspire dishes built, as always, with Nguyen’s seasonal devotion.  

In the works: an herbaceous crab salad, juggling sweet peanut brittle and intense spice, and a fried pork neck, served roll-your-own bundle-style, with betel leaves and lettuce for wrapping, plus “untraditional accoutrements.”

As Nguyen describes it, his pop-up will be “as thoughtful and creative as Jolie Laide, but a lot more spicy and fun.” Who knows: maybe this will push Berlu in exciting new ways.

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