That Ed Rudisell’s sleek third effort, Rook, had ambitions as lofty as his other hit enterprises (Siam Square, Black Market) was never in question. One step inside this Nikki Sutton–designed, post-apocalyptic dreamscape of a deserted Saigon street scene (complete with toppled telephone poles), and you knew it was more than a mere sandwich shop offering funky versions of Vietnamese banh mi. But it took Carlos Salazar, the former Oakleys Bistro sous chef who entered as business partner last fall, to bring the restaurant’s vision into full focus. Salazar’s umami-rich mushroom dumplings, pork-belly steamed buns, and meat-on-meat pig-face hash have raised the culinary bar while channeling the true spirit of Asia’s great street-food snacks.

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