7/10/2013 04:30:00 PM

The Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Ca Bam Xuc Bahn Trang at Le Colonial

Le Colonial is a French-Vietnamese restaurant taking inspiration from the French colonies situated in Southeast Asia during the 1920s. The two-story restaurant has occupied the same Gold Coast rowhouse for the past 17 years. On a humid night like last night, the restaurant not only looked, but also felt like an ocean-side escape complete with palm trees, wicker furniture and wood ceiling fans circulating the thick air that smelled like spices.

Very little has changed since Le Colonial’s opening in July 1996. Most of the original menu items remain intact and are prepared by the executive chef Chan Le, now accompanied by her son. The same silver-haired maĆ®tre d' sat us, while a bronzed bartender made our too-fruity cocktail. It is a bit of a time capsule, reminiscent of a less trendy time. Here, the food is as much of a mouthful as the names of the dishes.

Offerings such as the Ca Bam Xuc Bahn Trang were simple in presentation but bold in flavor. Wok-seared monkfish was seasoned with lemongrass and peanuts, and served on roasted poppy seed rice crackers. The delicate fish carried a lot of spice in each bite carefully placed on the thick cracker. The lemongrass added an additional layer of freshness to the light dish - the perfect start to a meal filled with rich sauces, bold curries and unapologetic flavor.

1 comment :