Vietnamese Comes to Freret

Pho for Freret, Tuesday, October 15, 2013

By Ian McNulty for The Advocate

As Freret Street has rapidly redeveloped over the past two years, each restaurant that has opened here seems to have staked out its own turf. Next up for Freret is its first Vietnamese restaurant, though this one will be different from the standard pho joint.

Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro & Bar is now under construction at 5100 Freret St., in an old, two-story corner building just across Soniat Street from Dat Dog. This is the first restaurant venture for Jimmy Tran, a New Orleans native.

He’ll serve pho and banh mi, but also burgers with kimchi and “chicken and green waffles,” flavored with coconut milk and tropical pandan leaves to merge a soul food classic with a typical Vietnamese sweet treat. Mint will have a full bar, and Tran hopes it will become another social spot along Freret Street’s busy restaurant row.

“At a lot of Vietnamese places, people come in, they eat and they leave,” said Tran. “All around here it’s more social, so we want to make it like a place people can come and hang out and have food and drinks together.”

The interior will feature a more modern design than most noodle shops, he said. Tran expects to open Mint in December.