Eleve, one of a wave of new Asian restaurants to open in late 2009 and 2010, serves Walnut Creek’s most authentic, high-end Vietnamese meals.
We say that, having lived in Southeast Asia for three years, which included traveling to Vietnam. The well-balanced spices, fresh ingredients, and beautiful presentation remind us of dishes we ate in Saigon. The food, service and contemporary minimalist setting combine to create an alluring and satisfying experience.
On our visit, the Vietnamese-style beef carpaccio, with mint, toasted peanuts and lime dressing, was delicately prepared and spiced to perfection. The thin slices literally melted in our mouths. The shrimp spring rolls had the freshest lettuce, cucumber, mint and vermicelli with an understated peanut sauce that added the right dash of contrasting flavor.
Chicken Xao Lan, a spicy yellow coconut curry, was prepared with bean thread, earwood mushrooms and sweet onions. It was a perfect combination of subtle flavors. The market fish on our visit was red snapper. The crusted fish was pan-fried with a ginger fish sauce and accompanied with sautéed chayote squash. All dishes were attractively presented with attentive and knowledgeable servers.
In bestowing one of its prestigious 2010 food awards on Eleve, Diablo magazine called the food "divine," saying that chef and co-onwer Michele Nguyen wanted to put a modern, upscale twist on her new restaurant, without losing traditional flavors and ingredients. "Mission accomplished," Diablo said.
In addition to its fine menu, Eleve offers handcrafted cocktails and an extensive wine list. The restaurant, located at the corner of North Main Street and Civic Drive, is open for lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday – Friday.
Dinner is served 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday; 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday; and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday. Cocktail hour is Tuesday – Friday 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Monday.