Mon-Tues, 6pm-10pm; Thurs-Sun, 6pm-10pm, Weds-closed
What happens when an Arkansas-bred American chef falls hard for Vietnamese cuisine? You’re in for some fascinating fusion—not that Robert Newton, chef-partner of the “dressed-up southern” Seersucker and its coffee-shop offshoot, Smith Canteen, would ever think to use the dreaded F-word. But the most memorable dishes at Nightingale 9, his spartan new noodle shop, are the ones that combine his background, his predilection for sourcing locally and seasonally, and his unabashed passion for the flavors and foods of Vietnam. These three influences meld most impressively in a stellar salad of shaved raw collard greens seasoned with grated coconut, fried shallots, and lime, a combination that suggests that the kale-salad hegemony may have some competition. Another perfect-for-summer starter made with shredded poached Hudson Valley chicken derives its crunch from cabbage, kohlrabi, and North Carolina peanuts and its fragrant bouquet from the fresh herbs that characterize Southeast Asian cuisine. There’s cracklings in the Berkshire-pork noodle soup, country ham in the glistening fried jasmine rice, and deep-fried catfish in Newton’s take on cha ca la Vong, a Hanoi specialty typically made with grilled fish. That the tabletop soy sauce is aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels makes perfect sense.