Unicorn and Region owner Kiet Truong is not done with opening new San Francisco restaurant concepts yet. Together with his Region chef Andy Ngyuen and general contractor Trung Ngyuen, he's planning a “rustic” Vietnamese restaurant called Conam, just a few blocks north of the Vietnamese restaurant bubble known as Little Saigon, in the former Tajine space. Truong has a few things to clarify about the concept:
“[The food] is not meant to be trendy, but to emphasize classic Vietnamese dishes from very specific regions,” Andy said. “People may question if this is really Vietnamese and they may think it is fusion. But it is not. To put it bluntly, we serve peasant food”
He says the menu will include dishes that some Vietnamese people may never have heard of, as well as more familiar Northern dishes such as pho and bun. Chef Ngyuen has spent the past five years traveling back-and-forth to small villages in Vietnam to find authentic dishes that the San Francisco palette is not used to tasting: a Vietnamese corn risotto with pork skin, cucumbers and carrots in a light coconut broth, and “papier-mâché” or rice paper cut into strips then tossed with tamarind dressing, cherry tomatoes, dried shrimp and peanuts, for example. Nguyen says the latter is a popular street food item that was only recently elevated to refined status in Vietnam with the addition of scallops and shrimp.
Decor-wise, the team is working on a moss wall installation that evokes the concentric shapes of a rice patty. Overall the aim it to be “low-key and unpretentious.” Conam is shooting to open within the third week of August.
· All CoNam Coverage [~ ESF ~]