Yesterday, friends we were visiting in St. Pete Beach, FL suggested that we do lunch at Alésia Restaurant (http://alesiarestaurant.com/index.html), which specializes in fresh Vietnamese-French cuisine. The food was wonderful in every respect. The flavors of the dishes are influenced by the French, Vietnamese, and Chinese backgrounds of the three founding partners.
My wife started with an appetizer of summer rolls - fresh rolls in rice paper with shrimp, rice vermicelli, mint & pork, served with a hoisin peanut sauce for $3.50. (Chicken can be selected instead of pork.)
I started with a small tomato bisque soup with three toasted baguette slices for $3.
My wife and I each had a different version of bánh mì, a Vietnamese sandwich. My wife had the non-traditional version and I had the traditional version. Both versions are available in spicy and non-spicy variants. The spicy variant incorporates sriracha sauce. I ordered the sauce on the side and found it was not too hot for my taste. I like moderately hot spices.
Non-traditional - grilled pork with pickled carrot, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeño, on artisan bread for $8.5
Traditional - the grilled pork is replaced with pâté, salami, sopressata, jambon de Paris (Parisian ham) for $7.
The taste of the contents of the sandwich was enhanced by the excellent artisanal bread.
For dessert, my wife had chocolate mousse for $3.
I had bread pudding topped with sliced almonds & confectioners sugar, served with french vanilla bean ice cream for $4.80.
The four of us shared a 2010 Sonoma County Banshee Pinot Noir for $29.
The total bill for the four of us was $86.89 - very reasonable for a terrific lunch.
The service was excellent.
The lunch menu can be seen at: http://alesiarestaurant.com/pdfsmenu/Alesia_LunchMenu.pdf
The dinner menu is available at: http://alesiarestaurant.com/pdfsmenu/Alesia_LunchMenu.pdf
Brunch is served on Saturdays.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining.
The restaurant does not take reservations.
While the atmosphere was very nice, it was a bit loud. Parking is limited, but there appeared to be ample parking a block away on 1st Ave S.