Set in a beautifully restored building on Central Avenue and named for the street in the 14th arrondissement on which the family grew up, Alésia serves French, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine with a discrete modern flair. Here the dishes are more delicate than their progenitors as if the fusion of different food cultures has served to taper the edges and polish the surface.
What Alésia does well is keep the menu simple. There are not countless iterations of the same dish, no wide-selection of condiments to override inherent flavors, just variegated, well-curated dishes which encourage the simple pleasure of enjoying good food.
The pho or noodle soup has a hint of sweetness; the bún or rice vermicelli noodles are served with skewers of glistening grilled pork or shrimp; the traditional bánh mi has a firm jalapeño kick to it if you order it spicy. These are the dishes you should try your first time there. The prosciutto salad’s secret is the candied walnuts and the Chinese short ribs are tender, moist, and surprisingly well-paired with the potatoes au gratin. My favorite dish is the mì vit tiêm, a Vietnamese and Chinese egg noodle soup served with roasted duck, shitake mushroom and shoots of fresh bok choy.
Then there are the desserts. The bread pudding and banana spring rolls go down a little too easily. The Nutella crepe takes me back to the food carts of Paris. I often enjoy these desserts at brunch with a mimosa and Vietnamese coffee.