le colonial.

back in high school, i used to babysit for my adorable little neighbors (who are now probably in high school). if i'm remembering correctly (and clearly, this was a long time ago!), one of their parents' favorite date night spots was le colonial, located near rush & walton in river north (ya know, right near the viagra triangle.)

so i've always wanted to try this little place. i mean, i've walked past it literally (no, not metaphorically) hundreds of times ... i eat/play/shop in that area quite a bit. and when our two-year wedding anniversary rolled around, josh & i decided that would be the perfect place to dine.

per their website, le colonial is "a cleverly crafted re-creation of the civilized, yet exotic, world of french indochina." sounds oh-so-lovely.

however, the best part about le colonial? they have a separate vegan & vegetarian menu!

what what !!!

since i have the best husband in the world, josh offered to share a couple vegan items ... and get his own, whole crispy red snapper for dinner. (ick.) 

anyway, here's what we had ... 

cha gio chay :
crisp, fried spring rolls of tofu, jicama, carrots, & asian mushrooms with soy lime dipping sauce.
best spring rolls maybe ever. one of our servers explained the technique ... you take the lettuce, cilantro, mint, carrots & jicama and wrap that around the spring roll. so it's like double layered. somehow, that made them extra delicious. they were so fresh ... which we were slightly confused about seeing as they are fried. and you couldn't taste any mushrooms, so i was happy there!

goi ngo sen :
lotus root and tofu salad with cucumbers, tomatoes & chili lime soy dressing.
also fabulous. the flavors were just perfect. i don't know that i've ever had lotus root before - and this was quite the positive first experience. completely fresh, awesome flavors. #win.

banh pho xao :
rice noodles sautéed with soy sauce, tofu, bean sprouts, green onions, red peppers & garlic chili sauce.
sadly, i was slightly disappointed here. this was good, just nothing so special (like the first two dishes!). a little bland considering it had garlic chili sauce. what i did like was that it was a huuuge plate. tons of noodles + tofu make me a happy girl. after the app & salad, i couldn't even come close to finishing this. hello, leftovers! 

le colonial is kind of a chicago staple ... they've been around forever (15+ years!). and even though they are right in the middle of all the hubbub of river north, it somehow feels tucked away & quite nicely private ... perfect for a date night or just quiet night with friends.

i think i'll definitely be back to le colonial ... for the app & salad alone ... but there are other items on the vegan menu i'd like to try, too. who's with me!

le colonial
937 n. rush street
chicago, il 60611