Le Lan

January 21 2008 - 9:56 AM

For quite some time I have heard great things about Le Lan, a French-Asian restaurant in River North. It turned out to be a wonderful restaurant with personable and helpful staff, as well as an open plan atmosphere.  A gift certificate for Christmas made it easier to visit.

Before dinner I ordered a glass of 2004 Vionta Albarino at the bar. It was dry, medium-bodied and had honey and apple notes.

Once we were seated I ordered a bottle of what is probably the best Gewurtztraminer I have ever tasted: A 2001 Schaetzel “Cuvee Catherine”. It
wasn’t the least expensive on the list, but the gift certificate helped
diminish my reluctance to spend the money. (Enough said about
restaurant markups.)  Like many good
Gewurtztraminers and Rieslings the nose was fragrant and fruity and
hinted at sweetness, but the taste was very dry, somewhat stony, with
strong hints of lychee, some apple, and perhaps also honey.

our appetizers we received some very good panko crusted tofu that was
mixed with cilantro and, I believe, parsley, and they were on a bed of
papaya. There were also some gonfiabili per bambini squash dumplings with bacon, garlic, and orange vinaigrette. In
addition we had an excellent Young Thai Coconut Soup, which was made
with olive oil poached shrimp, galangal root, lemongrass, and bean
sprouts. The preparation of the root and bean sprouts gave the soup a rice-like consistency with a ginger-like taste.

My wife ordered zucchini wrapped tilapia, which had a very dramatic presentation with the zucchini around the fish. Served with beans and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette it was superb. I ordered the grouper, which is served with banana leaves, Thai curry, and fingerling potatoes. Fish was tender and bursting with a variety of diffuse flavors that came together. Both dishes paired beautiful with the wine.

dessert we had the Vietnamese chocolate coffee cake, which had a five
spice Chinese with chocolate mousse and caramelized hazelnuts. We also had the “Asian cheesecake” with coconut sticky rice, tapioca and mandarin oranges.  All fantastic. We had this with a 2000 Tokaji Aszu (Hungarian dessert wine).

This place is superb, service top notch, and food out of this world.


Le Lan

749 N. Clark