The world's long appropriated Germany's greatest inventions -- France, America, and Japan all made bank building cars, and India now totally owns wildly bushy moustaches. Now the Vietnamese are taking the biergarten, at Bia Garden.
From frighteningly prolific BarBao chef/architect Michael Huynh, Bia mashes up Nam's also frighteningly prolific street food with a space and beverage program inspired by Germany's beloved brew hauses, plus a touch of the covert: pass through a minute, subterranean take-out counter, then an industrial steel, peepholed door leading through a walk-in fridge to a tiny dining area rocking walls pastiched with Asian beer ads, then finally to a 50-seat, half-covered, communal table-dominated garden, with exposed brick & beige cinder block walls covered by fruit trees and other flora. The social-minded brew scheme borders on genius, with an all-Asian line-up (Tsingtao, Kingfisher, Tiger, 33, Sapporo, Taj Mahal...) served as six-, 12-, and 24-packs, delivered in ice-filled metal coolers; charges are based on consumption, so...expect to pay for every last one, if you're cool. Meanwhile, suds-friendly grub starts with a roving cart proffering rotating $5 bites, then moves to small dishes like Dum Nem Sausage (duck liver, pine nut, anchovy sauce), BBQ pork hand rolls, and lemongrass/glangal/chili "Shark On Fire"; hungrier hippos can go for Spicy Curry Wild Boar, BBQ Rib on Lamb Belly w/ jalapeno cucumber relish, whole dungeness crab, baked fish, and a spicy cress/red onion/Dijon number called "Shaking Beef" (you'd shake too if everyone were crowding around you with knives).
Bia plans to soft open any day now, but caution that they could be delayed up to a week; they plan to post updates on their Facebook page, showing they've also appropriated Germany's hardest learned lesson, the importance of front-line communication.