Since opening, Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare's upscale pho joint Mot Hai Ba has widely been regarded as one of the city's best places to indulge in a bowl of broth and noodles. Both spent time traveling through Vietnam doing research for the restaurant, and it all seems to have paid off. Now, Mot Hai Ba plans to add more authentic Vietnamese dishes to their menu with the help of a new chef.
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Johnson announced this week that Peja Krstic would take the reins in the Mot Hai Ba kitchen. Krstic, a Serbian-born chef, spent two years at The Standard Pour, and was widely credited with elevating the gastropub's menu. After leaving Standard Pour, Krstic went on to serve as Executive Chef at Trinity Groves' Souk in a short-lived stint, according to the chef's LinkedIn profile.
Along with the debut of their new chef, Johnson also announced some new menu offerings. Mot Hai Ba favorites like shaking beef and banana flower salad will stick around, but there are also more adventurous options on the menu, like grilled duck hearts served with a green papaya and herb salad.
Interestingly, pho doesn't make an appearance on the dinner menu. In Vietnam, it is almost always eaten for lunch, and Johnson and O'Hare have long expressed a desire to make sure that their restaurant is authentic as possible. Undoubtedly, plenty of diners will still walk through the doors expecting a big bowl of broth and noodles, but they can hopefully be swayed by the interesting array of new dishes that Krstic, with input from Johnson and O'Hare, has added to the menu.
Mot Hai Ba began serving this new, improved menu yesterday, and Krstic is already helming the restaurant's tiny-but-efficient kitchen.