Best Bites: ChoLon's Cha Ca La Taco

July 27 2011, 11:30 AM

Since ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro opened last October, chef Lon Symensma has wowed us with his modern take on southeast Asian eats, including soup dumplings and stir-fried Brussels sprouts with pork and mint. Ever the perfectionist, Symensma constantly fiddles, updating dishes and adding new ones—such as the Cha Ca La Taco.

Inspired by a dish in Northern Vietnam featuring river fish, Symensma builds these "tacos" with turmeric-poached tilapia and crispy julienned vegetables punched through with pickled onions. A garnish of brilliant green herb mayo and a scattering of fresh cilantro and dill add visual zing. These are beautiful tacos.

Fold them up and eat with your hands. They're fat and messy, and each bite imparts a country-meets-city earthiness and finesse. While you anticipate the punch of cilantro and the crunch of cabbage, you don't expect the dill, an herb rarely used in Asian cuisine. But this slightly sweet, feathery frond is the pièce de résistance, and it will send you back for more. 

1555 Blake St., 303-353-5223