Le Soleil, 133 Clement, 668-4848
Le Soleil, the beloved inner Richmond Vietnamese restaurant, finally re-opened after a six month closure during which they remodeled. That’s code for having to build a wheelchair accessible bathroom after being targeted by a well known (at least among restauranteurs) lawyer-client duo who have dedicated their working lives to uncovering and suing restaurants that do not meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
But, I’m happy to report that Le Soleil is back and turning out their bright, precise, Vietnamese cooking tweaked just a little by chef/owner Dennis Wong. Wong calls it New Vietnamese Cuisine.
This means, among other things, spot-on balancing of hot, sour, sweet and salty; and impeccable, greaseless deep frying. The reassuringly small if peripatetic menu embraces dishes from Wong’s Vietnamese-Chinese background; Vietnamese dishes that incorporate unusual but authentic ingredients; and gentle innovations of his own. Served in the comfortable, soigne new dining room lit by votives, this personal, rather elegant Vietnamese cooking proves to be a bargain for a civilized night out with well chosen wine, or just a casual bite. Everyone walks out feeling elevated and happy.