Le Soleil 133 Clement St./2nd Ave., Inner Richmond, (415) 668-4848. L-D W-M; $$. Reservations advised. Offering refined Vietnamese cuisine, this neighborhood favorite has a short-but-sweet menu full of noteworthy dishes. In fact, I met nothing that I didn’t like, and I found several things that I will return to experience again. Sure things among the appetizers include: barbeque pork fresh spring rolls, crispy chicken-wing lolipops, tasty and tender beef carpaccio, two-inch “rice krispies” shrimp cake balls, a crispy fried tumeric crepe with chicken and shrimp that you wrap in lettuce and fresh herbs, a sweet and flavorful quail that is dramatically flambeed at the table, and a strongly flavored shrimp-papaya salad. Moving on to entrées, don’t miss the sweet caramelized sea bass, tender luc lac “shaken beef,” and exquisitely delicious garlic noodles with tiger prawns or crab (my hands-down favorite dish). For dessert, you can’t go wrong with mango sticky rice or a crispy, creamy fried banana with coconut ice cream. Over-order so you can try more items and take home the leftovers. I enjoyed a bottle of Vietnamese B33 beer, and my dining partner savored a glass of Leese-Fitch Pinot Noir, but even the water is crystal clear, clean tasting, and freshened with citrus slices. The sleek dining room has black wood tables, grey slate floors, and twisty track lighting; wall decorations made by mom showcase working abacuses. The restaurant is family run, with mom taking care of business, dad (and ex-husband) working wonders in the kitchen, and three daughters waiting tables.
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