Lucy's Vietnamese Kitchen

Vietnamese Bánh Mì Meets Texas Brisket in Bushwick

By Molly Aronica

When chef and owner of Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen, Johnny Huynh, decided to open this phở and bánh mì shop in March, there was only one neighborhood he would consider: Bushwick, where he was born and raised by his grandmother, Lucy. And staying true to his roots, Lucy’s is a true reflection of Johnny’s Vietnamese-American upbringing, both in the food and the decor—one wall is adorned with baby photos of the four owners and another boasts an enormous, red lucky cat, spray-painted by co-owner Sahra Nguyen.

The vibe here is casual and comforting; the small space has one communal table and a large wooden counter, making take-out and delivery the easiest options. Since they are still in a soft opening phase, the menu at Lucy’s is short and simple, consisting of only four items at the moment: vegetarian phở (which comes with tofu, though chicken or brisket are available for a few extra dollars), phở bánh mì, lemongrass tofu bánh mì, and chicken bánh mì. The phở bánh mì is the main attraction as it features house-smoked brisket and the garnishes traditionally served with phở —Thai basil, bean sprouts, fresh lime, jalapeños, and cilantro. Crusted with cracked peppercorns and salt, Huynh’s Angus brisket is smoked for 16 hours, until the meat is tender and juicy. The chef honed his meat-smoking skills while working with Dennis Ngo at Smorgasburg stand Lonestar Empire.
All of the bánh mì sandwiches are made with crusty baguettes—which Huynh has specially made at Pizza Party, the pizza place right next door to Lucy’s—that are smeared with super piquant house garlic aïoli and Sriracha, and topped with lightly pickled ribbons of carrots and cucumbers. Like all of the other products served at Lucy’s, the tofu tastes fresh and is prepared with the utmost care. Huynh slices fried tofu then gently simmers it in a lemongrass and garlic marinade per order.

Huynh and his team are constantly tinkering with the menu and developing modern interpretations of the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Whether you choose a bánh mì or a bowl of phở, their love and passion for the neighborhood and the food of Vietnam is impossible to deny.


price range

$8 (lemongrass tofu bánh mì) to $12 (the phở bánh mì)