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20 Cosmo Place between Sutter & Post off Taylor
Cuisine: French Vietnamese
Pluses: Close to theaters and major hotels, drop dead gorgeous bar and ambiance
Minuses: Valet parking is a bit pricey if you leave it while at the nearby theatre
Don't Miss: Mixed appetizer platter, dessert (excellent sweet offerings for an Asian spot)
Overview: Dinner nightly
All Credit cards accepted
Completely non smoking
Wheelchair accessible by elevator
A sense of timelessness and grace pervade Le Colonial, evoking the tropical elegance of French colonial Vietnam in the 1920s. From the patchwork tile floors to the graceful palm trees and rattan and shuttered windows, Le Colonial feels as if it was transported here from 10,000 miles away. Vintage black and white photographs of life in Saigon at the turn of the century adorn the walls, while ceiling fans gently stir the air.
The cuisine draws on traditional recipes blended with local bounty. Among the specialty dishes are Goi Hoa Chuoi, a crisp salad of shaved banana blossoms, prawns, Asian herbs and a spicy ginger vinaigrette, Goi Cuon Ca Hoi (soft salad rolls filled with charred salmon, dill, cucumbers, herbs, and sweet-chili sauce), Cha Gio (crispy spring rolls with shrimp, pork and woodear mushrooms, served with table salad and nuoc cham dipping sauce). Entrée selections include Xuon Nuong, an original twist to a classic Vietnamese dish, a double cut pork prime rib that is slow roasted and served with a taro root puree and sautéed sweet pea tendrils drizzled with a 5-spice and apricot reduction, Ga Roti Xa (lemongrass roast young chicken with French bean salad and garlic jus), and Ca Hap La Choi (steamed sea bass in banana leaf with tomato, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, scallion and glass noodles).
In addition to the intimate main dining area, Le Colonial has an outdoor veranda which is a favorite of the uptown, upscale crowd. The upstairs bar and lounge provides a relaxed salon ambiance with its faded oriental rugs, decorative bamboo birdcages, low wood tables and comfortable couches and features late night music on weekends.