(PRESS RELEASE)_DELRAY BEACH, FL – February 6, 2023 – Le Colonial (601 East Atlantic Avenue) – the much-vaunted French Vietnamese dining phenom -- is bringing its unique brand of old-world sultriness and spice to Delray Beach to the new $300-million Atlantic Crossing mixed-use destination slated to become a focal point on Atlantic Avenue for living, working, shopping and socializing. The restaurant will open on February 16 to the public for dinner.
The 7,000-square-foot palm frond-lined restaurant and lounge seamlessly blends its lushly appointed indoor and outdoor spaces, evoking visions of a trench coat-clad Catherine Deneuve slowly strutting down a dimly lit street in 1920’s Saigon. Guests will be immersed into a romantic period drama that sizzles with the same soft mood lighting, ornate touches, slow-turning coastal fans, wood shutters, and earthy wood tones found in a classic seaside home that give the dreamy sequence its cool, breezy and effortless vibe.
Le Colonial’s hotly anticipated arrival in Delray Beach will be its 5th U.S. outpost when the perennially popular restaurant debuts in the beginning of the New Year, coinciding with the 30th anniversary milestone of the beloved brand by famed restaurateurs Rick Wahlstedt and Joe King, who have introduced countless celebrities, American critics and tastemakers to the elegant and romantic spirit of Vietnam.
“Our goal with the Delray Beach location was to create something very special for South Floridians – an ambience that evokes a very distinctive vibe, which we feel will resonate beautifully in this relaxed but buzzy beachfront, town square setting,” said Wahlstedt. “We are very excited to be part and partner of this community and hope to be part of memories to come for friends, neighbors and visitors alike.”
Wahlstedt and King tapped longtime collaborator and award-winning architect Mark Knauer of Chicago-based Knauer Inc. to instill the beauty and romance of a bygone era while reflecting the surrounding tropical landscape. Knauer has responded by conjuring up an oasis that blends Vietnamese collectibles, vintage materials and artifacts with interesting modern surfaces, fabulous French finds and an explosion of a pastel color palette that awakens the senses with the feel and scent of the tropics.
Wraparound windows and black steel French doors with Parisian hardware bathe the 115- seat dining room, with natural light. Upon entering, guests will find a richly appointed vestibule dressed in charcoal grey marble Marmorino Veneziano walls with gold leaf as well as oversized black and white photographs. In the dining room, Famed Swedish painter, Jonas Wickman, designed a custom canvas painting inspired by well-known artist Aliz Ayme’s turn-of-the-century depiction of a Vietnamese marketplace. The 5x8 feet painting anchors the room in a recessed niche with gold leaf. A plethora of custom elements can be found throughout, including cement carpet tiles from Morocco, baked antiqued mirrors, plus hanging brass pendants with silk shades from Paris along with slowly moving fans. Soft wicker dining room chairs are paired with brass Art Deco style table bases from Cebu in the Philippines, while the walls are adorned with turquoise shutters, cream-colored paneling and oversized period photography.
Immediately off the dining room is a picturesque patio, that serves as a garden hideaway for guests to luxuriate among tropical foliage. Discover a hidden spot underneath a, greenery-covered tonnelle of bougainvillea that climb the walls around dim-lit, copper lanterns. A white stucco, zen-like fountain is the focal point of the patio that channels perpetual summer vibes decked in lush foliage, gorgeous blooms, and wrought-iron decor. Wickman designed three custom, recessed, mosaic tile paintings that line the length of the fountain with a playful banana leaf and flying parrots motif. Highlights span from an outdoor bar and fireplace to tables made of bent bamboo and natural straw, paired with authentic Parisian cafe chairs and punctuated by pastel-colored cushions. Its verdant setting makes for stunning photos, while its exotic cocktail list will help one unwind from the day.
“We designed Le Colonial to be transporting, there’s no question about it,” said King. “As soon as they walk into the bright, palm-filled entryway, and then onto our swoon worthy patios we want guests to feel like they’ve stepped into an oasis from another era.”
Also adjacent to the dining room is a luxurious and inviting cocktail lounge reminiscent of a buzzy hotel bar, designed to be an intimate and exclusive retreat for up to 66 guests- with soft lighting, tropical greenery and plush seating of sofas and fauteuils. A Jonas Wickman mural of brightly colored orchids, climbing vines and flying parrots will adorn the back wall of an intimate chefs tasting room- The Parrot Room- which overlooks the bar and lounge area and seats 14. It also boasts seductive orange Marmorino walls that play into the sounds of the island of Ibiza music in the background.
Under the leadership of acclaimed Vietnamese chef and cookbook author Nicole Routhier and National Culinary Director Hassan Obaye, the menu will focus on bringing the freshest, locally sourced vegetables and premium seafood and meats to life utilizing all that the Floridian coast has to offer. Meant for sharing, the traditional recipes play easily into today’s health-conscious preferences with ingredients like lemongrass, clams, swordfish, Gulf shrimp, rau ram and mung bean sprouts. Highlights include new dishes, featuring the showstopping Crispy South Florida Yellow Tail Snapper, carved tableside and accompanied by freshly tossed greens, dill, pickles, toasted garlic chili lime dipping sauce; and Canh Chua Crudo, a red grouper seasoned with Vietnamese Tamarind sour, lime, okra, pickled mustard seeds and herbs. The menu will also pay tribute to Le Colonial signature dishes including, Bo Luc Lac, caramelized filet mignon, garlic confit, show peas, organic watercress salad, Vedalia onions, kaffir lime; Tom Chay Toi, Tiger Prawns with sauteed garlic, sriracha, tamarind jus and crispy rice noodles; and Bahn Uot, grilled sesame beef rolled in flat rice noodles, cucumber, lettuce, basil and lime garlic sauce.
On the beverage side, the seasonally driven cocktail program will also align with French and Vietnamese influences and offer an array of signature cocktails, fresh mocktails and a 160 wine labels to choose from. Signature cocktails include Lychee Martini, Haku vodka, lychee liqueur, fresh lime; Smoked Old-Fashioned, Woodinville Bourbon, simple syrup, Angostura bitters; Spicy Pineapple Margarita with Montelobo mezcal, ancho reyes verde, fresh pineapple, agave nectar; and Pomegranate Martini, with Cincoro blanco, kalani, coconut liqueur, pomegranate, pineapple.
Le Colonial’s Saigon Social offers guests an early afternoon treat with a $ 10 food and cocktail menu from 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Bite-sized dishes includes, Goi Cuon, chilled shrimp roll; Le Colonial Brussel Sprouts, crisped and topped with caramelized fish sauce and lemon; and Sui Cao Chien, pan-seared chicken dumplings.
Opening dinner service will be from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Saturday and Sunday lunch from 11- 4 p.m. The Saigon Social is Monday-Friday in the lounge and features $10 food and cocktail menu from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The lounge will also provide an abbreviated menu until midnight Thursday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.lecolonial.com or call 561-566-1800.
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