Saturday, June 26, 2004

Viet-French fusion dining due in Oakley

By Polly Campbell
Enquirer staff writer

The next restaurant from Jean-Robert de Cavel will be a French-Vietnamese fusion called Pho Paris.

For this one, opening as early as August, the owner of Jean-Robert at Pigall's and JeanRo Bistro, downtown, is forming a partnership with the Le family, owners of Song Long, the popular Vietnamse restaurant in Roselawn.

The new restaurant will take over the space in Oakley where Andiamo! opened 11/2 years ago. Andiamo!, which serves contemporary Italian cuisine, will close.

This will be de Cavel's third restaurant in two years. A fourth project, in the former Wildflour space in Covington, is in the planning stages.

Mary Le, who will be managing partner of the new restaurant, says she and her family have long talked about something like this with de Cavel, a loyal Song Long customer.

If at first glance a Vietnamese and French fusion seems unlikely, consider that France ruled Vietnam for about a century. Much of Vietnamese cuisine already has French influences, and many chefs have explored the fusion of the two. They have in common a commitment to freshness and seasonality, de Cavel says.

In fusing the two, he intends to keep the Vietnamese feeling but "respect my culinary training as well." There will be some Vietnamese dishes on the menu as well as crossovers, such as spring rolls with confit foie gras.

Mary Le's mother, Cuc Le, who is the cook at Song Long, will train chefs and contribute recipes.

"But it's all in her head, and she likes to keep things a little secret," says her daughter. "So we'll have to figure out how to get it on paper."

Entrees probably will be $15-$28.


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