Nightingale 9: Vietnamese with a dash of Southern

Nightingale 9: Vietnamese with a dash of Southern

Nightingale 9 - vietnamese in Brooklyn

Dear Food Diary:
When StalkerBoy plans our date night, he usually picks something unique to surprise me, like going to Nightingale 9 in Carroll Gardens for Vietnamese.

When I saw chef/owner Robert Newton (from Seersucker) on the menu, it all made sense. See, I follow him on Instagram and I knew he was back in Vietnam, the photo evidence showed him flavor scoping – hence his venture to open a Vietnamese joint in the first place.

Nightingale 9 is located on the same side of the street as Seersucker and Smith Canteen, which sorta looks like he’s playing foodie monopoly.

Nightingale 9 - vietnamese in Brooklyn - table setting and menu
It felt like walking into a school cafeteria in a third world country. Small tables and rustic metallic chairs. Of course, in a more hipster, Brooklyn sense.

Nightingale 9 - drinks
Drinks wise, they were small and not very boozy. I got a fruity white sangria with yuzu and StalkerBoy got a watermelon one. Both tasted more like juice than anything. And you know I measure booze level according to how red my face turns and in this instance, I was pale as a ghost. They weren’t cheap either. Boo to that!


Nightingale 9 - herbs plate
A medley of fresh herbs was present at all times. To snack/enhance the dishes that followed.


Nightingale 9 - curry popcorn
Curry Popcorn with Georgia Olive Oil
Curry flavors were way to strong for me, but StalkerBoy enjoyed them.


Nightingale 9 - watermelon salad
Watermelon Salad
Great summery dish with shaved squash, the freshness of cucumber, chard flavor from the grilled corn, both sweet and savory. A ton of flavor from fresh basil. There’s a tartness along with a spicy, smokey kick.


Nightingale 9 - crispy south carolina quail
Crispy South Carolina Quail
Seersucker’s fried chicken is my all time favorite, so I knew I was in for a treat. Chef Newton knows how to fry a bird.

Nightingale 9 - crispy south carolina quail 2
All hands here. You first pull the meat off the bone and squeeze fresh lime into the spices, salt and pepper mixture.¬†Wrap the meat in butter lettuce with all the herbs and cucumber, followed by a dip. So good. There’s roasted rice powder in the mixture, which gives it a nutty flavor. The quail is ultra juicy and though small, the meat is really flavorful. The crust is well seasoned, crispy and crunchy.

It’s a mouthful of bright flavors, one after the other. And that lime dip really brought it all together with tartness and adding a kick. Loved it and would definitely go back for more. Fried quail should be the next big thing. I would love it served bucket size.


Nightingale 9 - summer vegetables
Summer Vegetables
A fun mix of very familiar veggies. There’s a spicy lemongrass broth in the background. Amongst the zucchini, bean sprouts, okra and fresh snow pea shoots, there were crispy lotus root chips. A nice hint of wok flavor was present. Great over white rice.

Nightingale 9 - summer vegetables 2
What stood out the most were these lotus seeds. Chinese people usually have it in soups or desserts. My first time having it outside of Chinatown. A nice surprise. It was cooked tender and not too mushy. It has a distinct sweet/bitter after taste. According to my ChubbyMama it’s very good for you (What? I don’t know. but if she says so).


Nightingale 9 - cha ca catfish
Cha Ca Catfish
Perfectly fried, tender and moist catfish with rice noodles, a hint of dill, scallions and peanuts. Though the catfish was flavorful and good, the star of the show were the rice noodles. It had a really toothsome pull, yet remaining soft at the same time. A dash of fish sauce, sweet and tart flavors combined it all together. Very familiar and easy to enjoy Vietnamese flavors. The dill was a nice touch.


Nightingale 9 - popsicles
For dessert, the folks at Nightingale 9 treated us to some complimentary popsicles. They are $5 each on the menu.

I couldn’t have asked for a more whimsical and sweet way to end this fun meal. Popsicle for a more adult palate.

Nightingale 9 - basil popsicle
Thai Basil Popsicle with Toasted Coconut
Really bright with a sweet grassy finish. In between a creamy and icy consistency. I loved dipping them in the toasted coconut, for a play in texture and flavor.

Nightingale 9 - palm sugar popsicle
Palm Sugar with Peanut Sesame 
Unlike the brighter Thai basil popsicle, this had a rich caramel like flavor. That nice burnt sugar/molasses sweetness with a dip into what seemed like a Asian “brittle” with peanuts and sesame. So good.


Overall, I thought our meal was great with a few surprises. And though prices were higher than your usual Vietnamese place in Chinatown (which I do love), the food is definitely worth a try. Familiar flavors with a dash of Southern from the chef’s background.

I would definitely be back for that fried quail! Drinks wise, I would skip.


P.S. Chubby’s Rating:chubby rating 3.5
More like 3.75. The quail alone was def a 5.
345 Smith Street
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

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