Photos: California Fresh Vietnamese Eats At Culver City's East Borough
Jason Neroni, the chef who became quite popular with his now-shuttered Friache restaurant, has since made even more of a name for himself with his successful Superba Snack Bar and soon-to-open Superba Food & Bread. He recently opened a California-inspired Vietnamese restaurant, East Borough, also in Culver City, updating classics like bun, bahn mi, daikon rice cakes, and imperial rolls with local produce and top-notch pork and bangin' head-on curry shrimp. Resurrecting the idea, the restaurant's tagline is "Fraiche Vietnamese."
East Borough is a collaboration between Neroni, Paul Hibler (owner and creator of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and Superba Snack Bar), and John Cao and Chef Cloe Tran (founders of the original East Borough concept in Costa Mesa.)
Both the menu and the space seem to be striving for a somewhat California/Vietnamese version of Portland's Pok Pok. There are even cocktails with drinking vinegars, also known as shrubs, made by bartender Jordan Tromblee, who happens to have come to East Borough via Andy Ricker's Pacific Northwest restaurant.
The design at East Borough is more modern eclectic than Ricker's casual street food shack, with light fixtures made of Vietnamese colanders, candy colored Eames-esque barstools, and shelves stocked with Campbell's tomato soup cans and steel Vietnamese lunch pails. The hostess stand is made from a repurposed Vein Dong news racks, and there's a nicely sized patio so that suits from the nearby Sony Studios can soak up some rays.
The space was packed on a recent Wednesday lunch hour, so it might not be the spot to dip into if you're in a rush. But they're also doing dinner service, and launching their communal happy hour today from 3-6 p.m., so there are plenty of opps to bop in.
Here's a look at what's on offer.