Contemporary Vietnamese cooking in the heart of Alphabet City, NYC
Chao Chao means a number of things in Vietnamese, depending on various accent marks and their placement. All meanings are food and hospitality related: a welcoming “hello”, a warming “soup”, delicious “meatballs”, or “shrimp balls” a sizzling “wok”, and, the accentuation used for the restaurant’s name, tangy “fermented tofu”.
Chao Chao is the brainchild of Stuy-Town native, Stephan Brezinsky. The concept is based in his life experience, growing up around NYC's East Village and Alphabet City in the 90s, listening to the Beastie Boys, and going home to feast on his mother’s Vietnamese home cooking.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
In pursuit of his lifelong passion for French and Vietnamese Food, Executive Chef and Owner Stephan Brezinsky left a successful career as a Hollywood VFX artist to set up shop in a popular Los Angeles Farmer’s Market, where his authentic Bretagne Crêpes quickly won the hearts of locals. Upon return to his hometown of New York City, he honed broad culinary experience in various positions front of house, back of house, and within the kitchen at Rue B. He later joined the opening teams for Spirited, a new dessert and cocktail bar concept, and the Il Mulino restaurant group's newest fine dining concept.
Most recently, Brezinsky crafted cocktails at the acclaimed East Village bar and restaurant The Third Man, and managed Pok Pok NY (During which time the restaurant received one of only two Michelin stars award to NYC-based Thai eateries).
Chao Chao is now, figuratively, Chef Brezinky’s home, and he aims to serve friends, old and new, a meal as if he were serving within his home with his family.
Kimxuan Brezinsky grew up primarily in Saigon. She has lived in the Stuyvesant-Town neighborhood for 41 years, and raised her family there. She is named for the Golden Spring, born in March, in the Year of the Meadow, when golden blossoms cover the trees. Mrs. Brezinsky is a teacher of French and philosophy at New York’s United Nations School, and an excellent cook.
Mrs. Brezinsky grew up in a very health conscious household. Her grandfather was a doctor, or soothsayer. Mealtimes were always very important gatherings for the family. Each diner had two sets of chopsticks – one ivory set for serving themselves from serving bowls, and, one ebony set for eating. If they had guests, meals could last hours and hours, with the hosts always waiting to finish eating until after their guests have had their fill (and, the guests sometimes taking the tradition a bit to far and doing the same).
Mrs. Brezinsky didn’t have to worry about those formalities as Stephan was growing up, however, she did struggle (as many parents will relate) in getting him to eat his vegetables. Specifically, any green vegetables. Fortunately for Chao Chao, Stephan has grown out of his green-vegetable aversion, and offers a warmly colorful menu!