On October 1st, chef Eric Tran, who last worked at the legendary Blue Hill at Stone Barns, went into contract to take over a space that had been home to the well-regarded Vietnamese restaurant Falansai for the past seven years, but closed due to the pandemic in September. After a few hectic weeks of assembling a team, creating a menu from scratch, and launching an infrastructure revamp, in mid-November Tran opened his first-ever restaurant... a Vietnamese place called Falansai.

Or, as he likes to call it, "Falansai 2.0."

When I asked Tran why he kept the name (and all the signage) of the restaurant's previous tenant, Tran told of his friendship with, and respect for, the original Falansai's owner Henry Trieu, who earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand mention for his work here. So even though the menu, the entire crew, and the somewhat more rock-n-roll attitude is completely different, Falansai it will stay, as a tribute to what his friend had built here before.

Located in East Williamsburg, a couple of blocks from the Morgan L, Falansai's bright-blue exterior appears like a dream on this otherwise-desolate corner. The front entrance remains closed for now—Tran is still working on the interior, and will definitely welcome as much indoor dining as is allowed whenever he's done—but walk down Porter Avenue a bit and you'll find an unexpectedly spacious outdoor patio set off from the sidewalk by a picket fence, decked out with propane heaters, twinkling lights, and, of all things, a fully stocked koi pond.

Tran's menu at Falansai is brief for now, but full of intrigue. There's a Pho, as you might expect, heavy with fresh rice noodles, grilled chicken, and served with a "salt-n-peppa" wing on the side because why not. The Lemongrass Pork Skewers consist of run-through sausages laid to rest on a bed of vermicelli salad, the Dumplings of the day rotate depending on what Tran feels like making, and Vegetables in Green Curry is a hefty vegan dish packed with charred broccoli, soft tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and "surprise celebrity guest appearances from NYC's Greenmarket."

All of the above sounds good, but I ate five other dishes from Falansai over the course of two meals last week, and know for a fact that all of the following tastes amazing. Start with Dad's Egg Rolls, a pair of crisp four-bite packages stuffed with pork, mushrooms, and vermicelli, and continue the paternal theme with Dad's Fried Rice, a huge bowl of seasoned grains generously studded with chunks of potent Vietnamese mortadella and Chinese sausage.

Tran's saucy Confit Duck Necks are messy and delicious—necks are bony beasts, but the rich, tender meat slides right off so you don't have to work too hard—and a big dish called Blazed and Glazed features juicy slabs of charred pork shoulder and a runny fried egg on a "platter" of sticky rice, with lots of herbs and pickled things scattered about to liven things up further. Make sure you dump that crock of fermented chili vinaigrette all over this beauty.

Maybe the best dish of all, however, is the aptly named Best-Brussels-Sprouts-You-Will-Ever-Eat, which comes slathered in a creamy fish sauce dijonnaise and topped with puffed brown rice and chicken skin furikake, the latter items packed under separate cover to preserve their crispiness. This is a good place to note that my big bag of takeout survived a 15-minute bike ride home in fine fashion, and even on a cold night there was no reheating necessary upon arrival. Leftovers the next night tasted just as good too, so feel free to over-order so you can try a bunch of things.

Falansai is located at 112 Harrison Place, at the corner of Porter Avenue, and is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for pickup, delivery, and outdoor dining (falansai.com)