I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I do love eating a clean healthy meal, especially after a weekend of debauchery. So the other night I rounded up my weekend party friends and we headed to a restaurant called Au Lac. Everything on the menu is completely plant-based and vegan with Vietnamese roots.. I’ve seen photos of the food on the restaurant’s Instagram account… it all looks amazing!
Au Lac is located in a strip mall on the corner of Hope and West First Streets behind the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The interior of the restaurant is much nicer than I was expecting. It has a beautiful art deco feel with a dining room and bar seating.
We started with recommendations from the hostess: First up was the Eggrolls ($6). These eggrolls were an eggless wrap stuffed with mushroom, carrot, jicama, taro, almond served with a mint dipping sauce. They were good, but nothing to rave about, but the Salt & Peppered Yam Shrimp ($10)… these were amazing. I don’t know how they did it, but somehow they turned yams into shrimp. Everyone at the table loved them.
The five of us each ordered a different entree, but tasted each other’s food. The special of the day was Nori-wrapped soy fish seasoned with lemongrass and pan-seared chili, served with pickled carrots and daikon, and black rice. This dish got mixed reviews from the group. It wasn’t the easiest thing to eat, but we liked it.
The Green Pyramid ($16) was a medley of wild rice, Thai basil pesto, coconut, zucchini, corn, bell pepper with dulse and flax crackers. Everyone loved this dish but the portion was very big. We decided it would make a better appetizer.
The Garlic Basil noodles ($16) were served with apple sage soy sausage, baked garlic cloves, pine nuts, nutritional yeast and spiced olive oil. The Ito Burrito ($14) was filled with cultured beans, macadamia cheese, guacamole, heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, onion, sprouts and a jalapeno puree. Both these dishes were overshadowed by the other plates. They were good, but not our favorites of the night. That honor goes to the Sweet & Spicy Tempeh ($16) with broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, seasoned tempeh and rice crackers. This was so tasty and delicious.
We finished up with the Choconut X-tasy ($9) which was a dessert made of dark cacao, walnut, macadamia and coconut nectar. Everyone at the table ate this up. I didn’t like it, but I was in the minority.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, you will love this place. If you are just out looking for a different dining experience, I highly recommend Au Lac. You MUST order the Salt & Peppered Yam Shrimp and the Sweet & Spicey Tempeh. Both of these items are MUSTS. Oh, and DTLA residents get a 15% Locals Discount!
Au Lac 710 West 1st Street (at Hope Street) 213.617.2533 aulac.com