A popular Vietnamese restaurant that has specialties on the menu such as imperial rolls, lemongrass beef, and fried bananas. They are open for lunch ... More
Le Cheval Restaurant
A popular Vietnamese restaurant that has specialties on the menu such as imperial rolls, lemongrass beef, and fried bananas. They are open for lunch Monday through Saturday and open for dinner nightly.
ok, I read a lot of reviews on this restaurant because I was not in favor of going there mostly because I just don't really like V. food. I will admit that I had a bad attitude about going. Here is how I found it to be on a Saturday night 6pm-9pm time slot.
Parking: well it is downtown Oakland so you are on your own. Street parking is available if you are lucky enough to find it. Otherwise there are pay lots ($5) or the convention center parking structure across the street.
Food: Like I said I am not a fan of V food but I have to admit this food was better then I expected.
Appetizer: Shrimp rolls ($6); made perfectly tasted fresh and fine.
Tofu rolls ($5.50): everyone at the table liked so they must have been good.
Dinner: Steamed Soul (12) my favorite dish: very good and perfectly prepared and seasoned.
Soft Stir Fry Noodles (8.25): very good and not spicy like the menu says which is fine with me. You can add spicy with the chili sauce on the table. These were good, very flavorful.
Tofu w/mixed Veggies (9.25): everyone liked this dish so it must have been fine. It looked fine on the plate.
Sauted chicken with broccoli ($10.50) my second favorite dish seasoned nicely, broccoli cooked perfectly.
Lemon Grass Beef ($10.50): although this dish tasted fine and perfectly prepared, I did not like the color of the sauce. Kind of a small point but the color was unapealing but the food was good.
Steamed rice is steamed rice.
Overall the food was fine-good. Prepared as on the menu, properly cooked and seasoned, no complaints.
Service: We had a reservation for 6 people and were seated right away, no one was waiting at this point. Our waiter was prompt friendly and gave us enough time to order appetizers, then order dinner. There are other people who bring the food out and they are efficient and are there to deliver food, not talk about it. They were fine though, friendly enough, careful with delivery and attentive.
Ambiance: open dining area with lots of tables that are not too close together. It is not a quiet restaurant. On a scale of 1-5 it is about a 3 1/2 for noisy (5 being the noisiest) The restaurant has tried to make it a bit quiter with panels on the ceiling. These do work but it was still a little difficult to hear across the round talbe. Overall though about what I would expect from this type restaurant.
Decor is nice, clean, friendly and inviting. Warm hughes of amber, yellow, with black and greens. Nice.
Value: I would say it is a very good value. The portion serving sizes are adequate and prices reasonable.
Overall we had a good experience and good food so I would have to give this restaurant the thumbs up and a rating of about 7 out of 10 for overall satisfaction.
I can't say that I really like V. food any better but this food was good for its kind. And for not liking V. food, I came away satisfied and not having to do midnight burger run.
We just ate there and it was very good. The service was not the greatest (speed wise) but polite and fairly attentive. The cube tenderloin beef was excellent, as was the claypot rice and salt-and-pepper prawns. It's very crowded and noisy so don't go there for intimate romantic dinners, but for a nice family dinner it's perfect. The prices are reasonable - we had drinks before dinner and three entrees' with rice with a nice bottle of French wine and got out of there with tip for $75.
My wife and I just walked up with no reservations and were seated promptly. The place is very crowded and the service was not good. The staff is NOT friendly and they do not come by to see if you need anything else. You have to get up and ask for water etc.
When you walk by this place it is always packed, with Caucasians. So there is no wonder why the reviews are so high. Its full of yuppies who do not know any better. The food is bland, fake Vietnamese fusion food. The price would not be a concern if the food was good, but it was not good or bad it was just food. The same experience you get eating at Panda Express. Just eat with no expression. I will not go here again. There is a Cambodian place on Broadway that is some of the best food i've ever eaten. Friendly staff and authentically Cambodian. When I crave SE Asian, I will go there instead.
I love this place!As a customer since 1985, I have loved this food since I was a child. I'm not really sure what Authentic Vietnamese food takes like, because I'm not Vietnamese, and have never been to Vietnam, but this restaurant has far better food than ANY Vietnamese restaurant I have been to stateside. My absolute favorites are the fresh lemonade, claypot rice, any of the kabobs, fried and steamed whole fish, bird's nest, firepot,chicken wings, imperial rolls,..lovin' it. The service is typical, no nonsense, straight forward. I read some of the other reviews, and I took the opportunity to find more about the history of the restaurant from the owners. The food is a mix of Vietnamese w/ French influence. Tips are not given individually but pooled and distributed to staff. Definetely a WIN WIN. Also, as a child I watched the owners be pillars in the community, participating in reviving downtown, and giving odd jobs to homeless and downtrodden. It's the essence of a family owned and operated restaurant.
I totally agree with a few here that feel Le Cheval is vastly overrated. I have traveled in Vietnam and this does not remotely resemble the food locals eat, it is California cuisine for people who fool themselves into thinking they are having a deep cultural experience, and it is mediocre food at best. The service is absolutely abismal. You want a real taste of Vietnam? Check out the pho places around San Antonio Park off International Blvd, they are the real McCoy, coffee, bones, and all. Le Cheval is a joke.
Likes: Spicy Chicken Wings
Salt and Pepper Prawns
Bird Nest (Soft)
Garlic String Beans
Eat before 5:00pm on Friday & Saturday
Very light, not greasy, leaves you wanting more, and more and more!
Dislikes: They use MSG in everything!
No Refills on Soft Drinks(order Ice-Tea it comes in a small pitcher for one person)
Overall: Very good, just stop usiing MSG and I will return!
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