Van Đa owner, Ms. Yen Ngo explains, “this restaurant is a story of my journey in food, modern in spirit, but anchored by my heritage.” Yen was trained as a chef and worked in fine dining restaurants in Washington D.C., Santa Fe, and San Francisco before settling in New York.
“We’re going to have dishes I grew up with and loved as a child,” Yen Ngo notes. “Specific recipes I never see here in the States: authentic, but clean vibrant-flavored elements of Vietnamese cuisine.
Chef Hannah Wong began her culinary career at Daniel Boulud’s dB bistro Moderne and went on to work at Gwynnett St. and Gramercy Tavern before being tapped to help run the kitchen at Battersby. In 2018, she competed on Food Network’s Chopped and won. Raised by a loving adoptive Chinese-American family, it wasn’t until Hannah was traveling on a Fulbright scholarship that she discovered her personal heritage. “I spent an entire year basically eating my way through different parts of Asia. That’s when I realized how food defines people and cultures, and I wanted to be part of that conversation...food is my love language and my creative outlet. And at Van Đa, we have a menu designed to reflect that.”
Bartender, Andrew Pisano, is an alumn of The Fat Radish, Alta Calidad, and Brucie. Andrew’s career path has been focused on hospitality since his first job as a dishwasher back as a freshman in high school. Even back then at young age, he quickly moved up to the front of the house and management.
“I’ve always had this sense of joy and accomplishment seeing guests enjoy their dining experience. At Van Da we tried to create a cocktail menu that compliments the food that Hannah is making. I wanted to include some ingredients familiar to Vietnamese cuisine, but that wasn’t an exclusive rule. The focus is on bright, clean flavors — sweet, sour, spicy, herbaceous — and vivid colors. There’s something for all tastes, from light and fresh to smokey and booze-forward."