In Chicago, located in Gold Coast off of Rush and Walton you’ll find the exotic Le Colonial which will change how you imagine Vietnamese cuisine.
A Banh Mi and Pho enthusiast myself, I did not know what to expect when walking in to Le Colonial. Most of my go-to spots when it comes to Vietnamese are small, family owned hole in the walls- and I don’t mind it. Le Colonial was my first experience with upscale Vietnamese cuisine and I was pleasantly surprised.
I was told to try Le Colonial for their lychee martinis with no knowledge of what a lychee would be. Let me tell you I think I’ve found my favorite fruit. For those of you like me, here’s a little background. The lychee is a fruit of a Chinese origin, specially the Guangdong and Fujian provinces. The taste and texture is similar to that of a pear, but looks like a raspberry, just a little bigger in size. The lychee does have a nut- so beware and a skin not meant for eating. Below is a picture I pulled to show you what the lychee looks like with the nut and peel.
Pictured here is the lychee sangria, which was delicious enough to make me want to come back just for a drink.
We started with the Chao Tom which is grilled shrimp wrapped around sugar cane and served with angel hair noodles, mint, cilantro, lettuce and a peanut plum dipping sauce. These reminded me a lot of lettuce wraps with a little twist from the mint.
Pro tip: The sugar cane is used to add flavor when cooking but is not intended to eat!
We also got the Ca Song which is tuna tartare served with tomatoes, cilantro and cucumber that is tossed in a soy ginger dressing and wontons.
For the entree my first time at Le Colonial I went with the Banh Pho Xao which are wide rice noodles sautéed in soy sauce served with bean sprouts, green onions, red peppers, garlic chili sauce and either chicken or beef (I went with chicken).
The Banh Pho Xao was so good the first time around I ordered it again when I came back.
Le Colonial is a great spot not only for the food but the ambiance. Beautiful and comfortable, whether you’re sitting inside or outside, you’ll love Le Colonial.
I can’t help but give Le Colonial 10/10.