Our dinner, however, showed that it is probably not among the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city. It was all right, straightforward and fresh-enough-tasting, but without the depth of flavor or vibrancy that you have at numerous other Vietnamese places in the city on a good night, if accompanied with much less the atmosphere, setting and service. Even the banh mi and summer rolls I had from the drive-through at the new Oui Banh Mi a few days earlier were better than my three-course dinner. Le Colonial seems just like the other upscale options in the River Oaks District, Taverna, Toulouse and Steak 48: not anywhere close to the tops in their genres in the city in terms of the quality of their fare. The fact that these restaurants are all outside entities undoubtedly has something to do with this.
But, in addition to the handsomeness and liveliness of Le Colonial, there is something else to laud it about, their wine. Their wine list might not be extensive, but it is extensive for a Vietnamese restaurant, and there are plenty of choices to more than aptly complement your meal. Given the French colonial past of Vietnamese – and the over reference in the restaurant’s name – the wine list is heavy on French labels. French wines generally go so well with food, anyway, that it makes further sense. There are a number of aromatic white wines and champagnes, about ten red wines from Burgundy and a baker’s dozen of white Burgundies. These range from Albert Bichot, Bourgogne 2014 ($39), which retails for about $20 a bottle, up to $399 for Domaine Vincent & Sophie Morey, Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014.
Le Colonial’s French – or French-sounding, at least – sommelier recommended white Burgundies and the couple Sancerres as wines that best complement the range of menu items. There are also around twenty New World Cabernet Sauvignons and blends that will overwhelm nearly all of the dishes, but necessary for “the Texans,” those dumbasses who don’t know anything about wine, but like to spend money. There are a few of these people in the city.
Even better than the selections at Le Colonial are the prices. Spot-checking a few prices, each were roughly just two times retail, which is quite low among area restaurants. Plus, there are over forty bottles prices under $50. Though not inexpensive, Le Colonial makes it easy to enjoy a nice wine. You’ll be spending money there, anyway.
4444 Westheimer (between Mid and 610), 77027, (713) 629-4444