When Kim Nguyen was sick with cold or flu as a child, her parents often fed her congee, an Asian rice porridge.
"If other people got sick, they'd have chicken noodle soup, but that's what I always had growing up," Nguyen says.
The dish is one of several menu items at Magasin Kitchen (611 O'Keefe Ave.), which opened Tuesday in the Central Business District. It's an offshoot of Nguyen's popular Magazine Street restaurant Magasin Cafe (4201 Magasin St., 504-896-7611; www.magasincafe.com).
Nguyen says many of the dishes at the new spot are recipes passed down from her grandmother, including the traditional rice porridge dish, which is topped with salted pork and a preserved egg.
"The recipes are all based on my childhood," she says.
Fans of Magasin Cafe's banh mi, bun and spring rolls will be happy to find most of those items offered at the new spot. New to the banh mi menu is a steak and eggs version and a sandwich filled with Vietnamese pork meatloaf.
Fried rice dishes include a version topped with sauteed green beans, avocado and a fried egg. All the rice plates are served in cast iron skillets, "so that the rice on the bottom stays crunchy, and it continues to cook and change while you eat," Nguyen says.
The restaurant is the newest addition to The Paramount, an apartment complex in the South Market District development. A liquor license is pending, Nguyen says, and she plans to serve Asian-inspired cocktails. When the bar is up and running, it will offer an evening menu of bar snacks including charred squid, grilled pork skewers and edamame tossed with lemon grass and coconut.
Magasin Kitchen is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.