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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
7.2
4.5
$30
Vietnamese
Casual restaurant

Hours
Mon–Thu 10:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 10:00am–midnight
Sun 10:00am–9:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted

www.lesoleilrestaurant.us

Far North Austin
9616 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX
(512) 821-0396
Le Soleil
A glum banquet hall that improves with lots of adventurous friends

Le Soleil’s owner left the excellent Sunflower after splitting with his wife and co-owner; of the two, Le Soleil is slightly more ambitious, with a longer menu and many more tables, and an odd stage with lighting that suggests banquets are a big thing here. The mirrors and ugly décor are vaguely depressing in the vast, pinkish hall. And what seems a charming informality of service at Sunflower feels irksome and harried in the larger room.

The food, while still very good, isn’t quite as nuanced, nor is it so faithfully accompanied by sides of nuoc man, mint, and cilantro (we’ve had to ask). Bo luc lac’s a little monochromatically sweet. Instead, get here what you can’t at Sunflower: a selection of traditional hot clay pots, with the edges of the rice and meat or seafood getting a caramelized crust. Also only at Le Soleil are blue lobsters and mussels, the latter of which the menu cryptically describes as being topped with “message” and peanuts. Pho broth is flavorful, but we like this place better for bringing groups of friends with whom to share sizzling plates of marinated spicy quails, whole fried fish in lemongrass and peppers, fresh lobster and crawfish straight from the tanks. It’s not mind-blowing execution, but an often delightful evening of discovery nonetheless.

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