Like the Thai restaurant scene in Bushwick, there is a shocking paucity of Vietnamese cuisine in the area (unless you count Falansai, but who can afford that?). Enter former Vietnamese gang Những kẻ tội phạm, a ruthless party of six (not five, unfortunately) consisting of Dai Phan, Cuong Koi, Hai Lo, Vinh Deesel, Xuan Fang and Quan Phan. Together, this sextet was notorious for bringing mayhem to Bushwick. Now, they’ve turned over a new (bay) leaf by opening up a Vietnamese restaurant.
“Before, I find comfort in selling drugs and boofing. Now I channel my passion into cooking,” stated Quan Phan, the ringleader of the group. Phan began organizing his so-called army around the time he was in high school appealing to the only other five Vietnamese kids in a mostly Latino and black high school. Dai Phan, no relation to Quan, expressed, “Quan saved my from getting bullied. When we all joined forces we were unstoppable. But now we realize it’s time to grow up.”
But that doesn’t mean the former members of Những kẻ tội phạm don’t know how to continue to keep it hood. The name of their restaurant, in fact, is Katsuni, called such in honor of the Vietnamese porn star of the same name. Menu fare also keeps it real with food offerings like “Stuffed Bodies” a.k.a. spring rolls. The restaurant is opening close enough to Falansai to make it sweat a little bit, on Johnson Avenue near Morgan. So get your appetites ready for some thug-flavored Vietnamese food that won’t break the bank (that’s what gangs are for).
Written by Genna Rivieccio