Cafe Lang Thang, the latest venture from the Lang Thang Group (of Pho Lang Thang and Quan Hapa fame) opened for previews last week. Their location, the former Enzo’s, is close to Washington Park and SCPA. Last week, they were training their crew, and I got an opportunity to preview the menu when I stumbled across their preview week.
The cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch currently, features Vietnamese food as well as general Asian and non-asian groceries. Think of it like a bodega– pick up a few necessities on the way home, but this one also serves banh mi. A winner, if I do say so myself.
Vietnamese food has a lot of influences– French, aboriginal, and Chinese, in particular– and the (limited) menu reflects it. I decided on a cauliflower banh mi, with a mushroom duxelle and a coconut-based mayonnaise. Yes, it’s vegan. The bread is certainly a French influence, nice and crusty, and a fun variation on the often-meaty banh mi. It’s served with crispy ramen chips. I asked The Better Half if he’d ever just eaten ramen without cooking it, and he looked at me like I was nuts. That’s essentially what it is, though: uncooked ramen, with savory accents. Please don’t put a bowl of these near me– they’ll be gone.
With soup, you have a full meal (and a half of a sandwich to take home). The soup I chose that day was crab-asparagus, which again shows off the French influence with a delicate balance of crab and asparagus. It tastes rather springy, which is welcome in dreary November.
The Cafe is still in its opening stages, so consider this a preview and not a review. Still, go and try it out– the food is high quality, delicious and different.