A couple weeks ago I was in Tulsa meeting with donors. I didn’t have a lunch appointment scheduled, so met my friend Shawn. He had talked about a place called Ri Le, a local, family-owned Vietnamese restaurant. I love local, love Vietnamese, and love trying new things.
Its on 91st, right near to the Whole Foods and a couple of other restaurants I’ve been to. Not a very big place, no frills, but very welcoming. The dining room is divided in half by an ornate half wall.
Pretty much the whole family works here. I love that. The owner’s son came to our table to greet us as we were looking at the menu. Shawn has been here and gotten takeout a bunch of times, and he had mentioned that they will sometimes recommend dishes for you. That works great for me too, so I don’t have to think as much. The son asked if we wanted spicy or not, and said he would bring a couple of dishes for us to try. Perfect.
We started with the veggie imperial rolls, served with a peanut sauce.
The rolls were really good. I like that they’re fresh and not fried, and the servings are very generous. I should have cut one open and taken a picture. Fail on my part. The peanut sauce was outstanding. It was rich, but not heavy. Doesn’t feel like you’re eating peanut butter, which can happen if its not made properly. Really, really good.
For our meal we got the sesame soy chicken, and then a dish with beef. Forgot to ask the name, and of course its not listed on the menu I found online. Again, fail.
Both dishes were excellent. So many fresh veggies. And even though they were both stir fry, neither one was heavy. The beef dish had strawberries. Don’t think I’ve ever eaten cooked strawberries. Added a very nice sweet flavor. I seriously could have probably eaten both myself. But it came with rice and we were sharing, so I decided to be nice. I asked for brown rice, trying to be healthy. As we were eating, Shawn said that the white rice there is really good, kind of a sticky rice. I told him he should have over-ruled me. Oh well, I now know better next time.
This this dipping oil that they automatically bring to the table. Shawn said he usually adds some to the stir fry. So I did that. So good. Not sure exactly what’s in it, but it has a ton of flavor, and just a hint of heat.
As we were finishing up, the owner came out and was greeting the guests. Oh my gosh, he totally reminds me of the old guy in Karate Kid!! I just wanted to hug him, but that might have been a little weird.
Definitely going back. On the one hand I liked them just bringing us stuff. But on the other, I want to try different dishes. Big decision, but not one I need to make yet.