French Indochina: Le Colonial

Le Colonial
N. Rush
Chicago, IL

180px-flag_of_colonial_vietnamsvgYes, we are aware that French Indochina does not exist. However, Le Colonial does its best to channel a romantic fin-de-siècle Vietnamese atmosphere with elegant decor and potted palms. We enjoyed a very continental 9 o’clock dinner, which was too dark for a good ambiance shot – so here’s a photo from the restaurant’s website. The menu itself is a fusion of Vietnamese dishes with some French flavors and techniques.interiorlc

To start off we ordered a few appetizers. M ordered Banh cuon (9.50), which was a chicken and mushroom stuffed rice noodle ravioli. It came with a delicious lime garlic sauce. L started with Tom cuon ram (10.50) which were shrimp beignets with an orange ginger sauce.

For entrees, L ordered the Tom xao sate ($24), which was a sauteed mixture of spicy shrimp and asparagus over a bed of rice. This is not a dumbed-down dish. It had more than a little heat to it and some great bite from the garlic and ginger. M ordered Ga xao xa ot (19) lemongrass-flavored chicken and portobello mushrooms, with a basil chili sauce. M felt the lemongrass was a bit overpowering, but L being a lemongrass lover was not bothered.

We don’t know how we had any room left after all of that food, but the Ciao Bella gelato looked enticing so we each had a scoop of mango (M requested his with chocolate sauce). And perhaps coolest of all, as we were sipping on our after-dessert espresso we had a Stephanie Izard sighting. Guess we were in the right place!

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