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The Chicago Traveler

Le Colonial

by Matt B on July 7th, 2007

The environment and ambience of Le Colonial will take you to a place you’ve probably never experienced before: 1920s Saigon. Slow-moving ceiling fans and black and white photos will take you back to the beauty and romance of French colonial Southeast Asia. As I reclined beneath a palm tree in a cushy chair, the calm serenity and great food provided an escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets just outside the front door.

“The food is Vietnamese food,” says executive chef Quoc Luong. “It’s not ‘fusion’ food; it’s not French.” The restaurant has attempted to take a cuisine that is commonly found in the ethnic Argyle neighborhood but made it a bit more upscale in the Gold Coast surroundings (just two blocks south of the Original Pancake House). For starters, the banh uot (grilled sesame beef in flat rice noodles) is divine with its balance of sweetness and texture getting along nicely with a lime-garlic sauce. And I don’t know about you, but I can’t resist the cha gio (crisp spring rolls). While the ga xao cari (saut'ed diced chicken with eggplant, mango, and cashews in a yellow curry sauce) may not look like much of an entr'e, it certainly packs a phenomenal punch of flavor. Or you may find yourself amazed by how much seafood can be put into a small bowl of sup do bien (bouillabaisse of coconut saffron broth). And as opposed to many other Asian restaurants, the portions were filling, but never gut-busting.

All in all, the restaurant makes for a great romantic and exotic getaway. The food is definitely worth the extra dollar and dusting off your spiffy dinner attire.

Le Colonial ($$$): 937 N Rush St; 312-255-0088
Sun - Sat: 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. (lunch)
Mon - Wed: 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. (dinner)
Thurs - Sat: 5:00 p.m. - 12 midnight (dinner)
Sun: 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (dinner)
Street parking difficult, valet available (for lunch and dinner Mon - Fri; for dinner only on Sat - Sun)
Public trans: Bus # 36, 151 or Red Line train (Chicago)

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POSTED IN: Bars and Clubs, Restaurants

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