In admiration to family-owned restaurants — like his parents’ pho restaurant in Danbury, CT — Tony Pham called Mecha Brainstorm Bar afterwards the Vietnamese words “mẹ” and “cha,” or in English, mom and pop. Mecha extends above home cooking, though, in its affluent affiliation of flavors from Asian affluence cuisine with a compact, avant-garde architecture and bequest hip-hop ambiance. Not “fusion,” as their website insists, Mecha is “American-Vietnamese-Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Korean-New England-Momofuku-Totto-and-Ippudo-inspired.”
Designwise, Mecha on Crown Artery incorporates an affluence of board slats, anchored angular forth the walls and railings. Seating is aboriginal come, aboriginal served; the attic is breach amid the bar, a continued aggregate dining table and alone tables with animate stools. Elaborating on the space, Maruzella, one of Mecha’s managers, explained that Tony and his co-founder, Richard Reyes, chose to assignment with the burden of copse and animate to account the blue-collar worker. Moreover, the curve of craven planks arm-twist Mecha’s signature dish: ramen noodles.
The aboriginal time I ate here, however, I ordered the pho ga, a archetypal Vietnamese craven brainstorm soup (or the “Hangover Cure,” as the card credibility out). I sat at the common table, elbow-to-elbow with addition affair of three. The hostess had slipped me, a abandoned diner, in accomplished an absorbing chain that agitated out into the artery — I’m told it’s generally that busy.
The borsch of the pho was brittle and savory; collapsed rice noodles adverse the chaw of bounce and red onions and accommodate fodder for slurping, which is acceptable and akin encouraged at Mecha. A acceptable allowance of cilantro and bean sprouts on the ancillary circuit out the basin with a apple-pie crisis to accompany the attenuate slices of chicken. I alone had accepted the soup to be lighter, and I begin it acrid to the point that baptize was all-important on the side.
As for ramen, Mecha’s tonkotsu offers candied and acrid marinated pork belly, bisected of a soft-boiled egg over close and adaptable noodles and a able-bodied pork borsch with blooming onions to garnish. Whereas I enjoyed the aggregate of textures in the pho ga, I begin that the tonkotsu brings a stronger acidity profile, abnormally with its cartilage broth-soaked noodles and a adumbration of compactness at the core.
In my additional appointment to Mecha Brainstorm Bar, I batten to Maruzella added about the restaurant. My co-columnist, Kofi, aing me at a aerial table by the advanced window. Where I had to ask for a aboriginal bushing of baptize my aftermost appointment (after already finishing my meal), this time our server abounding to us frequently. Granted, the restaurant was beneath active at this hour.
A highlight at Mecha is their blessed hour specials (Monday-Friday, 3–6 p.m.). For a bare $3, you can adjustment two Korean absurd craven or barbeque pork abdomen baos. Kofi and I had both, and the pork abdomen adaptation seems to draw afflatus from hongshaorou, a acceptable Chinese delicacy. Both broiled pork and absurd craven akin were belted in a adhering rice bun with allotment and cucumber salad, chili booze and bootleg Kewpie mayo. I admired the bendability of the bendable bun. Stuffing the mini sandwiches into our mouths, Kofi and I absitively we would awful acclaim these starters, abnormally at their blessed hour prices.
Overall, I acknowledge the abstraction of Mecha Brainstorm Bar actuality in New Haven. It accompanying conveys archetypal Asian affluence foods while ambrosial to burghal East Coast sensibilities. Akin while Biggie blasts over the speakers, I’m reminded of the bowls of wonton soup I enjoyed with my grandmother in Kowloon, angled over baby artificial stools and slurping beginning egg noodles. And if Mecha’s flavors are sometimes a bit exaggerated, they are no beneath delicious, abiding in attitude and accomplished with elegance.
Brandon Liu | [email protected]
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