Flowers of Vietnam may be on hiatus while it undergoes pop-up-to-permanent renovations, but no matter, the restaurant is still scoring accolades from national critics. Today, GQ’s restaurant correspondent Brett Martin revealed his top 10 picks for Best New Restaurants in America 2017, which includes chef George Azar’s Southwest Detroit Coney Island pop-up, Flowers of Vietnam. Martin writes:
Something of a diner's spirit lingers at Detroit's Flowers of Vietnam, if only in the short-order station and plastic-letter menu board of the onetime “coney” it occupies. The euphonious name evolved, through a series of misreadings, from “Flavors of Vietnam.” The entirety of what the charismatic, media-ready chef George Azar has created here feels just as much like a happy blend of improvisation and accident: the son of Palestinian immigrants cooking Vietnamese food in a Greek diner in Mexicantown. One hopes Azar's gig cooking with the Noma team during its residency in Tulum this spring—while Flowers undergoes a renovation—doesn't polish too many edges off the charm of his operation, not to mention the honeyed funk of his glistening caramel chicken wings, the puckering fresh bite of his papaya salad, or the richness of the Vietnamese egg-cream coffee he offers for dessert.
Flowers joins other spots including Philadelphia chef Michael Salomonov’s newly minted deli Rooster Soup Co., LA outdoor taco oasis Salazar, Young Joni in Minneapolis, and more. Azar is currently hiring for Flowers 2.0, which is expected to reopen by mid-August. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese-inspired eatery is expanding to an outpost at Ford Field.