It's like something out of a Food Network reality drama; at 3 p.m., a daytime eatery flips the 'closed' sign, and three young chefs and restaurateurs frantically transfer paintings from some hidden space to the restaurant's walls. They drape gauzy, makeshift curtains over the windows, strip and re-dress the tables, and drag art installations to the corners of the room. They haul sprouts, rice paper wraps, pork bellies and lemon grass from the back of the walk-in, where they're nestled beside the European cheeses and meats that belong to the daytime eatery. And the dapper semi-celebrity host laughs, "The word popup makes it sound so easy, doesn't it?"
This is a dramatization of what Phuc Yea! (pronounced fook-yay, but who's seriously gonna call it that?) -- a new temporary "restaurant installation," or pop-up restaurant -- will look like. It's coming September 8 for dinner five days a week to the space Crown Bistro (19 SE Second Ave., in the northwest corridor of the Ingraham Building) uses to dole out its gourmet sandwiches to the lunch crowd. The fruit of collaboration among Anièce Meinhold (front of house, sommelier), Cesar Zapata (head chef, formerly of Blue Piano), and Daniel Treiman (chef with New York schooling and experience and Short Order contributor), Phuc Yea! will bring a progressive rendition of southeast Asian cuisine in an experimental dining environment.
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Treiman was buying soup spoons in a restaurant supply store in Manhattan when Short Order caught him for a phone interview.
"We're trying to do something different by offering the pop-up experience," he said. "The whole draw is the urgency of it. It's gonna disappear at some unknown time in the near future. Ideally we'll do it for two or three months, and then if it keeps going, it keeps going."