We tried to stop by the World of Taste Seafood on Jerome Ave in the Bronx for lunch today, but were surprised to see it had a new yellow awning labelled "Pho Mien Tay". That was not the only change, though: David Nguyen and the two older Vietnamese ladies were gone. We were crushed.
The only one still there was a Liberian lady named Mary, who said she'd owned the restaurant for the past two years, and that David had been working for her.
When we sat down for lunch, we noticed a new Vietnamese restaurant under construction across the street. Mary confirmed that David is opening his own restaurant across the street.
I wish I could say the food was still as good without David there, especially since Mary is such a nice lady and it looks like the place is really hurting for business. But it just wasn't. Half of the menu was out of action, including pho and weekend specials like the crab soup, and the half that remains was hardly recognisable.
Mary said she intends to keep the existing menu, but hopes to add West African food to the menu - a mix of Senagalese and Liberian dishes. When we said we didn't know a single Liberian restaurant in New York, she tempted us with descriptions of jollof and fufu and goat soup.
We checked the new place out after lunch. A hand-written whiteboard out front listed David's signature bun bo Hue. No menus yet, no idea when it will open.
We couldn't figure out what the restaurant name was, but the blue and white awning says, "Com tam Ninh-Kieu" and "Pho cali". So we have high hopes that David's amazing bun rieu will be back on Jerome Avenue soon.