After decades spent shaping Brooklyn’s dining scene with numerous venues (many of which were short-lived), veteran restaurateur Jim Mamary finally struck a chord with Oxcart Tavern, the gastropub he opened with chef David Pitula five years ago in Ditmas Park. Hoping to replicate that success, the duo recently opened Bashi Channel (1120 Cortelyou Road, no phone yet) along the western edge of the neighborhood’s thoroughfare on Cortelyou Road.
Named for a heavily trafficked waterway that runs between the Philippines and Taiwan, Bashi Channel represents a departure for Pitula and Mamary. Their nearby Oxcart Tavern serves New American bistro fare (chicken liver toasts, burgers, and a killer chile relleno) to a crowd of discerning drinkers. At Bashi Channel, the offerings run Pan-Asian, incorporating street and snack foods from a variety of Eastern cultures interpreted for a Western audience.
Noodles occupy the bulk of the menu; stir-fried with coconut oil and Sichuan peppercorns or plunked into fragrant bowls of soup. Diners can choose between wheat ramen or rice noodles and a quartet of broths: salt, miso, curry, or kimchi. On this early opening visit, the noodles were robust and nutty, with a desirable chew.
Tempeh meatballs and marinated tofu are available as proteins for vegetarians, but it’s the juicy roast pork that stands out, sliced into thick hunks capped with crispy pig skin. Those with heavier appetites should also check out Pitula’s take on porky dan dan noodles, cooked Taiwanese style in lots of sesame oil, which come slicked with sultry egg yolk for added richness.
Dip pan-fried dumplings into a choice of four sauces, the best of which is a tart yuzu mayonnaise; the others are soy-ginger, Sichuan peppercorn, and a zesty iteration of Vietnamese nuoc cham, which relies on fish sauce and lime juice. The golf ball-shaped nuggets hide tender fillings like chicken, lemongrass, and ginger, or pork with miso and green chili. There are also thin-skinned soup dumplings, whose crimped purses hold a trembling mixture of moist crab and pork. Come early if you want to try them — the kitchen was out when we arrived two hours into service.
Although less herbaceous than most, larb — the famous and beloved minced meat salad of Thailand — hits the spot, with long beans and ground chicken seething with chili heat. It’s far more fiery than a subdued green papaya salad, which seems missing its fish sauce funk.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pitula’s kimchi hot dog is a beef, pork, or tofu wiener with spicy fermented cabbage and the pickled daikon-carrot salad typically found adorning banh mi sandwiches. There’s one of those on the menu here as well, with house-made pâté and chunks of griddled pork sausage.
Decked out in fun, colorful wall murals, Bashi Channel seems poised to make a splash in this burgeoning section of Brooklyn. Prices top out at $14 for the largest of those noodle dishes, with many items under $10. At the moment, dessert is limited to glutinous frozen mochi dumplings filled with green tea, mango, or black sesame ice cream, but after our meal we were eyeing the gorgeous curved bar up front, where a young crowd sat nursing sake and trading stabs at fluffy bao buns stuffed with braised brisket.