New York City: Bryan Caswell Cooking Vietnamese Feast At City Grit

Earlier this year we participated in an epic tour of Vietnam with four chefs (Paul Qui, Edward Lee, Stuart Brioza and Bryan Caswell). The trip, which was organized by our friends at Red Boat Fish Sauce, took us to places like Danang, where we ate mi quang and the slightly smoked, slightly mythic, flat noodles called cau lau. We also learned how to eat pho properly.

Now, many of the chefs from the trip are back in the states and cooking dinners representing the flavors of Vietnam. There's a big group dinner planned for Feast Portland in September. And this Friday, Casewell will be in New York City on July 19 to present a multi-course Vietnamese feast. The dinner is being thrown at our favorite downtown culinary salon City Grit. Tickets, the few that remain, are $85 and available here.

Caswell grew up in Southern Louisiana and has worked in kitchens located mostly out of the South, having spent several years traveling the world for Jean Georges Vongerichten (New York, Hong Kong, Barcelona, the Bahamas). His international experience has shaped the cooking at Houston's Reef, where Mediterranean and Asian flavors have permanent roles.

Reef, at its heart, is a Gulf Coast seafood restaurant. "We try really hard do a true market-run seafood restaurant, which means that we sometimes only get 10 pounds of something," says Caswell. What he means is 10 pounds for the entire season. Over the five years it has been open, Reef has served an astonishing 87 different species from the Gulf. So Caswell was pretty impressed with the diverse selection in Vietnam — which we may see on the menu Friday night.

City Grit is located at 38 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012. For more information and other guest chef dinners visit