Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ri Le's- A Vietnamese and Vegan Awakening

I used to visit Ri Le’s with my family all the time as a little girl. I must confess, and I shame myself (as does my tummy and taste buds) that I hadn’t visited this establishment in probably four years. My dear readers and fellow restaurant connoisseurs, it was only punishment to myself and I have no excuse but that possibly I grew senile and forgot to visit. Can one be senile in their 20s? All I know is that I knew I had to have it. A craving that grew so strong I had to scrape the internet to find a menu. You know me and my cravings…they are sharp and specific. Nothing else would cure this Indie’s craving.

Pronounced Ree-lay’s, this Tulsa landmark definitely isn’t shy about relaying boastful dishes to our local community. Thirty years ago, Ri Le and his wife Thao opened their first small Vietnamese restaurant in Tulsa and have been dishing out healthy, flavorful food since it's opening1981. Oh and guess what? It’s definitely a vegetable lover’s heaven. The owner himself is vegan and prides himself on preparing healthy dishes. That is my kind of restaurant owner!

Was it worth the four year wait before coming back? Honestly, yes. Now, before you get your noodles all in a bunch let me explain why. It was a whole new experience, or maybe a strange new awakening. I had a deeper appreciation of his dishes and was delighted by my menu choice.

I found their menu on urbanspoon and happily browsed the long list of vegetarian and vegan options. Hmmm… vege tofu. That sounded about right. I had them make it the “soy” option which means it was prepared to the textures of how the meat is served versus cubed or sliced tofu. You have to ask for it to be prepared like this specially but he doesn’t mind! Not knocking eating tofu in shapes but sometimes you gotta change it up right? They were great about cooking the dish for a gluten free diner too.

It was delicious fellow Tulsans and visitors. BETTER than I remember.The vegetables were spicy, tangy, and crunched perfectly against the silky smooth texture of the delicate tofu. The rice soaked up the sauce and I felt myself melt into my seat. I have a feeling that these cravings will come more consistently now. In fact, just typing about it makes me want to pick up the phone…

Ri Le’s Location:
4932 E 91st St
Tulsa, OK 74137
(918) 496-2126

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