Vietnamese. Located in a quaint, stand apart building on a side street in San Francisco's theatre district, Le Colonial feels like a French chateau in a romanticized colonial Vietnam era (the outdoor seating feels like a lush Saigon sidewalk café). The bar features live jazz and palm fronds while the service is upscale and the cuisine fresh and inventive. The French-inflected dishes of modern Vietnamese cuisine have earned critical acclaim, and the award-winning wine list presents ample pairing options.
Executive Chef Kellie Nguyen-Rabanit moves into position at Le Colonial from within, where she's been utilizing her Vietnamese heritage and formal culinary training to turn out consistently popular cuisine at this swanky Theater District throwback to the French colonial era in Vietnam. Love the outdoor patio and the cinematic interior design, even though it's a cookie-cutter of the Le Colonials in LA and NYC. Over cool cocktails and well-chosen wines, we recently enjoyed excellent service (only a shellfish fork missing here and there - nothing to freak out about) and frankly, pretty fabulous food. Of course, raw oysters with a minted ginger granita are a long-time favorite, and happily still on the menu. While her sizable cold salad of shaved banana blossoms, prawns, peanuts and ginger ($12) may satisfy more than stun, Rabanit's butter-tender lamb chops with toasted peanuts, scallion oil and peppered lime sauce ($33) had us lolling about in a meat-induced ecstasy that's all too rare.