South Williamsburg, while not undiscovered, still contains the hint of a gritty edge and the vibrant mix of cultures that just a few blocks North has been swept into near extinction by corporates and college kids.
And that’s just how the Southside locals like it, full of independent, enterprising street spirit—the scrappy kind that has to use its wits and talents to survive.
It’s the perfect recipe for a neighborhood that nourishes places like The Southside Supper Club, which in turns nourishes its lucky locals. The passion project of Fred Hua—whose street art vibe (he is also a gifted illustrator) belies his tremendous accomplishment as a top-notch chef—Southside Supper Club is the realization of a long held dream.
Those who recall Nhà Tôi (now closed), a most excellent Vietnamese soup and sandwich spot won’t be all that surprised by his culinary prowess. As a cool, Brooklyn pioneer of real deal Pho, Hua brought his bright personality to Nhà Tôi‘s Southeast Asian home-style menu, which had a big cult following and some serious mourning when it shuttered its doors last year.
But as one door closes another opens, and Hua took the opportunity of having control over the space to explore an even more experimental approach to modern cuisine and restauranteering.
A quick re-imagining of the tiny enclave that included white paint and knocking down a wall to create an open kitchen, and Southside Supper Club was already in full swing when we stumbled upon it at the beginning of February this year. True to its underground nature, the doors are unmarked and the awning still bears its predecessor’s name, like the tattoo of a fondly missed lover, but on any given Supper Club night, passersby will have their curiosity piqued by the obvious revelry happening just inside the storefront glass.
Though Hua himself makes regular appearances in the kitchen, designing themed menus that run a gamut of global styles, the Supper Club also plays host to a rotating roster of some of the most exciting chefs and restaurant teams, who are long-steeped in methods of the afore mentioned revelry.
Our induction into the Supper Club was a night when Andrew Field and the team behind Rockaway Taco, the famed post-surf summer grindz, took over for the night, with a 5-course feast of their exuberant take on SoCal Mexican. Hand made corn sopes, Mexican shrimp cocktail, and endlessly flowing Beer by Rockaway Brewing Company made for a deliciously memorable night.
The next visit, however, really sealed the deal for our eternal admiration for both Hua’s artistry as a chef, and his dedication to ambitious culinary fun: Brunch-Dinner. Styled both as a 4-course haut brunch and as a celebration of the Hua’s most beloved meal (he points out that given a Chef’s schedule, they almost never actually get to eat brunch), the sumptuous menu included a bloody-mary influenced lobster ceviche, and 3 eggs: ostridge, duck, chicken, done 3 ways: frittata, deviled, poached. (See the full menu below.) Under Chef Hua’s skilled hand and attractive plating, each course elevated its traditional brunch counterpart to a higher level.
Hua also likes to point out that though he enjoys a broad variety of cuisines and ingredients, he recognizes the equally wide range of dietary restrictions, which seem to be more and more frequent. Most of his menus offer vegetarian/pescatarian options, and he’s even had entirely gluten-free menus. (We are much chagrined to have missed that night – fingers crossed for more!)
And more and more!
There will be many more, judging by the constant stream of updates on the Southside Supper Club website and mailing list. Check out the page to drool over past suppers and dream about upcoming feasts. The next one on April 26th is a 9-course tasting menu inspired by the Chinese wedding banquet and is in collaboration with Salon Selects. It sounds like an incredible opportunity to experience Hua’s vision and is sure to sell out quickly, so we suggest getting your tickets immediately.
See you there!
– Ava Fedorov
Photographs by Jeff Owens for Socially Superlative
Additional photo of Rockaway Taco courtesy of Southside Supper Club
Southside Supper Club
160 Havemeyer St. Store 6,
Brooklyn, New York 11211
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