Mai, oh Mai: The folks at Dang La Architecture, perhaps best known for slathering Styrofoam, a tan stucco-like surface, and a low thin beard of fakish-looking stone over the facades of several formerly distinctive-looking Midtown restaurants, have done it again. This time the firm’s chicken-fried-steak-inspired vision has completely transformed the exterior of Mai’s Vietnamese restaurant on Milam St. at Francis. Mai’s was famously singed by a fire in February, which destroyed the building’s interior and collapsed the roof, leaving only a 2-story brick shell. That made the perfect canvas for Dang La’s Second Life-like design concept: sort of an urban palazzo — minus those superfluous middle floors.
Inside, a rather different design team is in charge: Studio RED Architects’ Trung Doan tells Real Estate BisNow the new 7,500-sq.-ft. Mai’s Restaurant at 3403 Milam will have room for twice as many customers as before (more than 200) and will include a private dining room, a full bar, and a second-floor seating area. The restaurant is expected to reopen “early this winter.”
Photos: Aaron Carpenter. Rendering: Studio RED Architects