I have driven all the way to Fountain Valley to meet my lovely friend Uli at AU LAC. It was always worth the drive (45 minutes uhem) but now there is a new Au Lac downtown! Hooray!
The Original Au Lac was opened in 1997 by Mai Nguyen. Inspired by Vietnamese cuisine she created vegan and raw vegan dishes with a love for detail and complex flavours. All junk free of course.
The new Au Lac downtown LA was opened recently by Mai´s daughter Linh, it is a bit more "contemporary" and always crowded.
I took my carnivore husband there when he gave me the "Friday night carte blanche".
"Just make a reservation wherever. Surprise me!" Ha! Voila!
He doesn´t really know what awaits him. One glance at the menu and he seems discouraged. The couple next to us is also vegan/non-vegan, so quickly the meat eating men team up to make little vegan jokes. The hubby orders the "Octopus" and "Yam shrimp". I have Greens and the Coconut Nori Rolls (no complaints).
The food looks good. But the jokes continue until the first bite. The "Octopus" is really a savory mushroom dish. My meat loving husband looks shocked. "This is AMAZING!"
I try it. It is SO good. The texture as well as the full flavours. Almost like a meaty comfort food dish in a classic brown sauce but better (sans the cholesterol). The crispy Yam Shrimps also find his approval, in fact all six of them disappear quite quickly. So now we are talking to our table neighbors about great vegan food experiences and the best vegan or vegan friendly restaurants in town etc.
To be completely honest: the desserts need a bit of work. Sorry. Not that great. But everything else, including their wine list, kills. Plus you can meet nice people guessing what that "Octopus" really is.
Comments? Thoughts about this article? Let's talk about it on Twitter!