“Enjoy at your own risk,” warns the menu. An enticement indeed for the truly adventurous diner. The fine print speaks much about Quan Hapa. The Nguyen brothers, Duy and Bao, along with partner David Le, have followed up on Pho Lang Thang’s success at Findlay Market by bursting onto the OTR scene with some of the boldest flavors in the city. While Quan Hapa’s roots are clearly Vietnamese, Chef Matt Berichon employs a broad palette, allowing wildly distinct yet sympathetic ingredients to collide—sometimes with atomic results. A tuna ceviche makes use of the fiery sweetness of Malaysian sambal oelek and a banh mi steakburger gains crunch from pickled daikon and a side of Indonesian shrimp chips. Or try the okonomiyaki, a traditional Japanese pancake topped with a choice of bacon, prawns, or vegetables. The Vietnamese coffee, a complex, chicory-forward blend, is an ideal way to end the meal. At this pan-Asian street food spot, even regulars will manage to keep boredom at bay.
1331 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-7826, quanhapa.com
Originally published in the March 2014 issue.