LêÁnh’s Vietnamese restaurant is a new destination in the same stretch of South Tamiami Trail as Big E’s Cafe and Growlers.
Couples, families and students filled the tables at LêÁnh’s. Rose-tinged orange walls, track lighting and pale turquoise and cream tasseled curtains gave the restaurant a familial feel. LêÁnh’s business card depicts a staple of the cuisine – a steaming bowl of pho.
I gulped down a Thai iced tea and a gobbled up a barbecued pork bánh mi sandwich to sample the restaurant’s fare. Neither of those items are listed on the menu, but they can be requested.
The sandwich fillings were fresh and flavorful. Barbecued pork, parsley, cucumbers, carrots and jalapeno peppers were layered delicately inside a crunchy baguette. It was priced right at $4.99, but may not be filling enough for some. The bread itself was quite crusty and distracted a bit from the savory fillings.
Second-year Aric Archibald-Smith said that he tasted hints of honey in the Thai iced tea, which he pronounced sweet and refreshing.
Though the service was attentive and friendly, the dishes of my dining companions arrived from the kitchen in fits and starts. However, such mistakes can be forgiven in new restaurants working to find their pace.
Second-year Reid Shelley, who ordered squid fried rice, said that the rice was very flavorful, with green onions, carrots, cilantro and a healthy portion of egg and squid. Archibald-Smith ordered papaya salad with pork and shrimp and though finding it enjoyable, he said it could have been better.
“There wasn’t that much pork or shrimp in my meal and it could have been spicier,” he said.
Most of the entrees were priced at between $8 and $10 and the portions were generous – as was the menu, which features a variety of familiar and exotic dishes, including fried salted eel, pork rice porridge, frog legs stir-fried with curry and imitation chicken stir-fried with pineapple. There are many drink options, as well, including chrysanthemum tea, lychee drink and rainbow iced drink with coconut milk.
“I was impressed by the variety of food,” third-year Wesley Beggs said.
LêÁnh’s is still working on a takeout menu.
All in all, LêÁnh’s proved to be solidly satisfactory.