Monday, February 22, 2010

Le Colonial

The hubby & I heard so much about Le Colonial, but we never had the opportunity to go (or so we thought). Since they were offering Restaurant Week options (February 19th ~ February 28th), we decided to check it out.

Parking was easier than expected. At first, we accidentally "stole" a parking spot from a cabbie. The driver (of course) pointed that out, so we apologized and circled around again. We then found a spot on the same street. And upon parking, a random stranger had 45 minutes left on his ticket, so he gave it to us (gift from good karma?)

As soon as we came upon the restaurant, the hubby said, "we've been here. I remember going upstairs. I don't remember the food, but I know we've been here." When he went to the restroom (upstairs), he also recalled being seated and looking out the window... I vaguely remember any of this. He said we weren't as into analyzing good eats as we are now. So interesting how the mind recollects, sparks up memories.

Moving forward...

First Course
3. Bo Bia - soft salad rolls of julienne carrots & jicama, bean sprouts, & aromatic herbs in rice paper with peanut plum dipping sauce

Tightly wrapped spring roll that was fresh, crisp, delicate, and perfectly (lightly) flavored. I liked the peanut powder flavor (either in the roll or sauce) that really brought the whole thing together. I really love spring rolls -- it's like one perfect bite of salad, without having to fork through all of the separate ingredients.

6. Banh Cuon - steamed Vietnamese ravioli of chicken & mushrooms, with chili lime garlic sauce

I love steamed "ravioli" & the nuoc mam cham -- absolutely delicious.

Main Course
38. Ca Nuong - grilled salmon over vermicelli noodles, with dill, mesclun greens, & lime garlic fish sauce

Salmon was grilled perfectly. I love the balance of hot (salmon), warm (noodles) & cold (greens, bean sprout, etc.) and the balance of crisp (exterior of salmon, greens) & soft (interior of salmon, noodles). Signature Vietnamese.

42. Com Tho Ga - clay pot chicken with crimini mushrooms, peapods & ginger, over seasoned rice

This is the only dish I wasn't a huge fan of. It tasted like a typical Chinese dish.

Banana Tapioca Pudding - warm tapioca, coconut milk & bananas, topped with sesame seeds

mildly sweet, creamy dessert that we appreciated after a filling lunch.

Gourmet Ice Creams - two scoops of ciao bella brand ice cream; chocolate or vanilla

ciao bella ice cream does not's creamy yet silky, & deliciously flavorful.

We were very impressed by their portions...I honestly cannot imagine how big the dinner portions are. At $22/person, this meal was VERY worthwhile. The service was amazing, especially the bus boys...they filled up our waters often, and cleaned our plates / tables in a timely manner. At one point, a guy spilled a piece of ice that went under one of our plates. He grabbed a napkin & delicately covered the spilled spot immediately. As soon as we finished the plates, he grabbed another piece of napkin to re-wipe that spot and pick up the ice that was hidden. He did this faster than I was able to lift my napkin to do the same...and I was actually sitting at the table.

The ingredients were definitely fresher than typical Vietnamese places, but we can definitely get our "fix" at the V. places for a lot cheaper. As good as it was, unless we are in the area and seriously craving V., we probably won't return.

Le Colonial Chicago
937 North Rush Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 255-0088

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