For our first, “BYOB Of The Week” I am going to talk about this awesome little vegetarian Vietnamese place on 6th called Lan Café between 1st and 2nd Avenue. My wife and I went there last week with a bottle of wine and had ourselves some great food. I am not very familiar with Vietnamese cuisine but I thought a bright yet deep white wine would go well with the potential heat of some of the dishes. So I popped over to the shop (Alphabet City Wine Co. that is) and grabbed the 2005 Belondrade y Lurton “Quinta Apolonia” verdejo from the Rueda region in Castlilla y Leon Spain. Verdejo has been Rueda’s pride and joy for years and now that wine is so popular we are fortunate to have access to some great bottles from this area and the Quinta Apolonia is one of them. It is a bright well-rounded and aromatic wine with honeyed pear on the nose an almost creamy, nuttiness that is balanced by a good amount of acidity. As I was staring at the shelves it was kind of calling me so I went for it and met my wife at Lan Café.

We were the first customers of the evening and the very nice staff sat us and gave us our wine key. We popped the bottle and poured the beautiful dark lemon hue of a wine into our glasses and cheers-ed our first sip and as that bright acidity and fruit hit our palate we realized…OOH WEE! That is some good juice we need some food so we ordered apps right off the bat. We got the spring rolls, which were served, with lettuce and mint and a veggie-fish sauce (It actually didn’t taste like fish at all hence the veggie part but I could see where they were going with it and it was really good with salty spice) and the summer rolls served with mildly spicy peanut sauce. Man were they delish! When your eating food this fresh there is nothing like a good white wine to wash it down and compliment it. The verdejo did that wonderfully. For entrees my wife had the lemongrass seitan curry and I went with the tofu pancake with vegetables and a spicy dipping sauce. Again the food was fresh and delicious. The Wine was almost perfect with these dishes. It had the depth of fruit and residual sugars to calm the heat and enough acidity to compliment the flavors of the food with out overwhelming the palate with one or the other. They went very well together.
Lan Café is a great find. It’s tucked into the block and almost hard to see and quite small so I would imagine getting there early is key. There is no stemware available but hey, it’s BYOB. Who are we to complain? So come on in and give the Quinta Apolonia a try for only fifteen bucks a bottle and maybe hit up my wife and I’s new favorite BYOB in the city. Maybe we’ll see you there. I will be the one in the Star Wars t-shirt and hoodie with a clownish grin as I vocalize how well things are pairing all the while taking notes and embarassing my lovely wife. Sorry Darlin’ in advance. Cheers!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave Trieger on May 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Keith, that sounds like a great restaurant and a Spanish white sounds like the perfect combo. Some of the whites I recently tasted from Rioja have a nice resinous kind of mouth feel and would contrast the heat of a spicy VN dish really well.

    BYOG&G… (bring your own bottle & GLASS) What did you drink from, a water glass? Got to try that place.

    Glad to see you back up and writing again… keep it up bro.



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