I thought I would do today’s post a little differently, and rather than give you retroactive thoughts on our anniversary meal (thank you so much for all of your wishes!!), I wanted to pretty much do it live.
Please excuse the language, but it is just too good not to have the full clip…
Le Colonial Chicago Review
Alex and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary (we’ve been together nearly 7 years) yesterday by going to the well known restaurant Le Colonial, an upscale French-Vietnamese restaurant located in Gold Coast (just near the Lululemon that Lauren works at, Nico restaurant (check out my reviews!), and Sweat Chicago is just up the road (holla at Erin!)), which is a short jaunt from our apartment across the Mag Mile. Alex had received a gift card with specific instructions that it be used there, and I’ve been trying to get the boy to go there for such a long time (yet another place that he chose to ignore my entreaties to go to until the suggestion of another person!), so we went for it!
After the past week of indulging in our “vices” (which, let’s be honest, aren’t really all that bad, but they still add up to make you feel off your game), yet still wanting to have some fun–hey, it’s our anniversary!–Alex and I were quite happy to see that the menu offered us plenty of options either way.
As someone who loves Thai food (as my Restaurant Reviews page will attest to! Also several of my recipes are Thai Inspired, like my Nam Sod Cod) and has had Thai-Vietnamese fusion cuisine before (there was a delightful restaurant in Charlottesville that we used to go to), it was very interesting to see what a more purely Vietnamese menu looked like! More pure basil flavors, less emphasis on spice and on sour elements (from what I could tell).
We scored a perfect table on the veranda, right by a window, and with a perfect view of the sky and street (hello, people watching!). Just romantic enough. I scoped out the menu ahead of time (duh) and immediately gravitated toward a few of the starters. Here is what we chose:
Le Piquant Espolon Reposado Tequila, muddled pineapple, cilantro, lime, jalapeno, chile rubbed rim and pineapple juice (from memory)
This was delicious! A take on a margarita, this was not for the faint of heart! Talk about heat, but I loved it 😀
Goi Cuon Ga Soft Salad Rolls of Grilled Chicken, Cucumber, Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Bean Sprouts, Rice Vermicelli and Crispy Rice Paper with Coconut Plum Dipping Sauce
So delicious, fresh and refreshing, and I loved the little bit of crispy rice paper in the middle! I loved that each bite burst with herbs. I think my one change would be to have a juicier element in the middle–either more cucumber or even some tomato. But the texture was spot on, and not too much vermicelli–just the right amount! And oh, that sauce–it was like a peanut/coconut/plum lover’s dream! We kept it, of course 😀 And I let Alex have a few of the the rolls, but I took the majority.
We decided that I would get another starter (as I had been scoping) and that Alex would get a main, as they also came with rice (we subbed brown rice).
Ca Song Tuna Tartare with Tomatoes, Cilantro, and Cucumber, tossed with Ginger Soy Dressing, served with wonton crisps
Exquisite. Alex isn’t a huuuuge tuna fan (weirdo), and even he though this was fabulous. The scallion and tomato were so clutch in the tartare–texture and just the right amount of acid. Delicate, but with a bit of meatiness to it. I asked for light dressing, and it was the perfect amount–nothing was overwhelmed, and just nudge of the right flavors. I used the cucumbers like a chip, and just dipped the wontons (yum) in the coconut plum sauce from the rolls!
Ga Xao Cari Sauteed Diced Chicken with Japanese Eggplant, Mango, Yams, String Beans, and Cashews in a Yellow Curry Sauce
This. was. awesome. The flavor was so freaking good! Lightly curried, but unmistakable. The sauce wasn’t heavy at all, and the chicken literally fell apart and melted in your mouth. OMG and the mango was amazing–it was sweet, but not like you would expect it to be–this was almost like a roasted mango! Incredible. And the string beans gave it texture–an amazing play of textures and flavors throughout, actually! From the yams to the eggplants, to tomatoes and mango, to string beans and peppers. I just wish that there had been more cashew!
We finished off the meal by sharing a class of Primus The Blend red (a syrah blend, delicious as well!), and we are already stalking what we want to try next! Here is what I am thinking also needs to be tried:
Ca Bam Xuc Banh Trang Wok-seared monkfish with chili, turmeric, lemongrass, peanuts, and crisp toasted sesame crackers (appetizer)
Sub Do Bien Bouillabaisse of coconut saffron lemongrass broth, lobster, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and whitefish, with vermicelli noodles and aromatic herbs
and of course the Pho!
It was a fabulous meal, we were well taken care of, and you better believe that we will be back! If you are in Chicago and looking for a seriously incredible Vietnamese experience, you have to come to Le Colonial. Or I will go in your stead. I’m ok with that. I VOLUNTEER MYSELF AS TRIBUTE.
But sorry, Erin, we will have to find you non-cilantro things 😀Pho-SHO! Check out this fabulous anniversary dinner at @LeColonialChi via @Suzlyfe Click To Tweet
Have you ever had Vietnamese food? What do you think of our choices?
Do you like to go to new places for special occasions? Or back to your old favorites?