Le Soleil Restaurant- Excellent New Vietnamese Cuisine

By Carol & Joe Davis
Dining Detectives

San Francisco has great neighborhoods like Clement Street in the Inner Richmond. The diversity of people, shops and restaurants makes it very special. Le Soleil is part of this special culture as they have been on Clement for twenty years.

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Owner/Chef Dennis Wong, known for creating innovative dishes with balanced and diverse flavors using authentic and unique ingredients, has updated his New Vietnamese Cuisine menu so we were excited to see it.

This evening we chose to sit at a high table in this small pleasant restaurant and looked at the new focused menu. We were impressed by all the Appetizers. The Imperial Rolls made with pork, mushrooms and carrots were crispy and light. We dipped them in a light chili sauce and rolled them up in lettuce Vietnamese style. The contrast between the crispy roll and tender crispy lettuce made it very enjoyable. Next, we ordered the Beef Carpaccio made with thinly sliced rare filet mignon with citrus, mint and chili. We love beef carpaccio and this preparation was spicy and wonderful! It was served with shrimp chips which were light and crispy. We also enjoyed the sweet rice crusted Shrimp Rice Krispies which were lightly fried delicious shrimp cakes filled with water chestnut filling and served with peanut sauce. Each appetizer was beautiful and very visually appealing.

Our favorite Entrees were the Sea Bass, the Lu Lac Shaken Beef and the Crab. The soy glazed Caramelized Sea Bass was perfectly prepared with a light caramelized glaze. The fish was slightly sweet and the tender Brussels Sprouts and rice were excellent additions. The Lu Lac "Shaken Beef" was wok tossed luscious flank steak over rice that was served with pepper dipping sauce. The best entrée was the Garlic Roasted Dungeness Crab which was pan fried in brown butter and garlic then served over thin egg noodles. It was a spectacular presentation and tasted amazing, was light with had great texture and wonderful flavors! We can't wait to have all these entrees again! Le Soliel's Wine List features International and California Wines that are very reasonably priced and offered by the bottle and by the glass. We enjoyed the 2011 Stellenbosch Fleur Du Cap Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, the 2009 Tangent Pinot Gris from Edna Valley, CA. and the 2010 Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir from Sonoma, CA.

We just couldn't contain ourselves when we saw the dessert menu. The Fried Banana which was honey drizzled golden brown banana egg rolls served with coconut ice cream was perfect. The Mango Sticky Rice made with fresh sliced mangos with sweet black sticky rice topped with coconut ice cream was also very authentic and tasty. The Crème Brulee made with Vietnamese coffee and creamy custard topped with caramelized sugar was excellent and very light. We ended our excellent dinner with fresh brewed Vietnamese coffee. We enjoyed the option of adding just the right amount of condensed milk that we liked with our coffee.

Congratulations to Le Soleil Restaurant on their twentieth anniversary. The cuisine was fantastic and we look forward to returning soon to the Clement Street location and on our next trip to Asia to their Le Soleil Restaurant in The Royal Garden Hotel in Hong Kong.

Le Soleil Restaurant
133 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA. 94118

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