On the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, there’s a storefront that has intrigued me for more than a year.  The floor-to-ceiling glass windows have been covered by black plastic from time to time, but they’ve since come down and revealed something like the ruins of Pompey.  A tableau of a restaurant, frozen in time.  Place settings went untouched.  Quality glassware acquired a thick layer of dust.  And no one seemed to know just what was happening with Locanda, the refined Italian eatery that closed so suddenly at the end of last May.

All that is about to change for the better, as the cousin team of Khoa and Denise Nguyen prepare to open a new Vietnamese restaurant they’re calling Ba Bay.  If those names sound familiar, it’s probably not because you saw them on short-lived cooking competition show Chopping Block last year (few people did, which is why the show was canceled so quickly).  But they decided that they enjoyed the experience enough that they would continue the partnership.

I spoke with Denise a few weeks ago and have been trading emails with her since.  This weekend, she and Khoa went back to their roots to learn the secrets to some classic family recipes with their mothers – and to put their own spin on a few dishes, as well.

After the jump, some more details about what to expect when Ba Bay opens (and when that might be). (more…)