Serial restaurateur Anne Le Ziblatt brings southern Vietnamese cuisine to Redwood City.
Anne Le Ziblatt
Anne Le Ziblatt is no stranger to Silicon Valley high rollers. When she opened Tamarine restaurant in Palo Alto in 2001, its upscale Vietnamese cuisine became a favorite of Facebook, Yahoo and other tech execs and was named among 10 eateries on Forbes’ “Insider’s Guide to Global Power Dining” in 2008. Her second restaurant, San Francisco’s Bong Su Restaurant & Lounge, made Esquire’s list of the top 20 new restaurants in the U.S. when it opened in 2006. In 2009, she sold Bong Su, later sold her interest in Tamarine (it remains a power lunch spot) and, in need of a break, began traveling.
Le Ziblatt is now back to shake up more than shaking beef. Her Nam Vietnamese Brasserie in downtown Redwood City is aimed at the new influx of tech workers at Box, Avast and Sumo Logic who can afford five-star menu prices but whose sensibilities, like Le Ziblatt’s, are focused on the bottom line. “I am tired,” she says, “of spending $150 or more for a casual dinner on a weeknight.” With Le Ziblatt as chef, the menu showcases Vietnamese cuisine with influences from southern Vietnam, where she was born. The signature hu tieu nam vang soup borrows from Cambodian and Chinese cuisine and features Salmon Creek Farms pork, prawns, rice noodles, pork and chicken bone broth and garlic chives. Crab udon soup, honey five-spiced chicken, chile lemon grass tofu, dumplings and rolls are on the menu, as are beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages.
Interiors by Anastasia Contakos (who worked on Tamarine, Water Bar, Bradley Ogden restaurants and more) resemble a modern fishing village and feature a large instagrammable wall. Its 30 seats include communal tables with charging stations. Le Ziblatt’s path was partly influenced by her parents, who founded the South Bay’s Vung Tau restaurant group, but also by an attorney who, during her college internship at a law firm, warned against a legal career by noting he was unhappy at his job and owed $300,000 in law school debt. While traveling for work at a subsequent tech marketing job, she recalls, “I was much more excited about where I was going based on where I could dine than the purpose of my business travel.” Lunch: Tue.-Fri., 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner: Tue.-Sun., 5:30-9pm, 917 Main St., nambrasserie.com
Steamed pork and shrimp dumplings
hu tieu nam vang soup
imperial rolls with pork, shrimp and wood ear mushrooms
steamed chicken, shiitake and wood ear mushroom buns.
Photography by: food photos by Allie Wong; portrait courtesy of Anne le Ziblatt