To create Tri -- named after Kubanoff's year-old son (say it "tree") -- they redid the interior, removing all vestiges of the hip Saigon drop-in, except for the open kitchen and counter. They added stained wooden tables, banquette seating, and dramatic red lighting in the front room, and more refined touches in the small back room.
I'll leave it to the food critics to wax eloquent about Kubanoff's evolution, how the vet of NYC's Daniel and Chicago's Alinea has fused Vietnamese ingredients and techniques with the American culinary lexicon, such as the tender tamarind-glazed brisket served over braised pumpkin and tips of yu choy. Or the skate wing, served on a salad of watercress and pomelo. Or a ganache with crunchy tapioca, caramelized white-chocolate powder, and taro chips.
I will say that he's created a special destination.
It's most definitely not "same same ... but different" -- the expression that the Bucks County native picked up during his days in Ho Chi Minh City while cooking and leading motorcycle food tours. He also met and married his wife, Thuy.
When Kubanoff and Crostarosa reopen Same Same in the neighborhood, the banh mi and street food will be back.
Hours are 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday.
Menu is here.