Owners Hiep Le and Mark Vangessen have been dreaming up Le Cellier for the better part of the past year. The location they've picked is just a stone's throw from the beach, off Washington Boulevard near a Cabo Cantina and across the street from Island's. It's not particularly spacious, does not offer patio seating, and has yet to open, but it looks like it might be the most interesting new restaurant to hit Washington Boulevard west of Lincoln in a long while.
The concept is French-Vietnamese, and with GM Bernard Louberssac at the helm, expect precise service in a casual atmosphere. While Le owns China Beach in Venice and Vangessen owns a bar down the street, Louberssac has nearly 20 restaurant openings under his belt. He's managed and operated concepts across the U.S. and in France. For this somewhat more sophisticated restaurant and wine bar, Le and Vangessen opted for modern minimalist decor and big flavors in wine and food.
The menu is broken down into soups, l?nh c?t & Pho mát (Charcuterie & Cheese), Banh Mi (translated as Tartines), and main dishes. A Vietnamese Seafood Soup shares the section with Soupe à l'oignon gratinée. Charcuterie comes in both languages, but the universal emphasis is on pork. Tartines like the Banh Mi Cha with a savory egg cake and mustard spread sound promising, as does a Bison meat ball version. From the main courses, pick among Lemongrass Mussels Frites, Salmon Filet with Lime-Paprika sauce and Pork Loin in a Plum Wine sauce. A chalkboard menu lists wine and food specials, rotated daily. This is the new Asian fusion.
Now in soft-opening mode for friends and family, if all goes according to plan, Le Cellier will officially debut early this month. [EaterWire]