Lele at Gig Harbor

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4747 Point Fosdick Dr. N.W.
(253) 514-6382


Credit Cards Accepted, Full Bar, Vegetarian-Friendly
Avg. Meal:

The Review

Reviewed by: Jake and Jason de Paul

ANNOUNCER: Sitting next to Gig Harbor’s new Galaxy Theatre is sitting pretty indeed. Lele Tran, who owns Tacoma favorite Le-Le Restaurant with husband Andy, made the adventurous choice of opening another restaurant in Gig Harbor. Swinging open the doors nine years ago, the original Hilltop Le-Le's and the sadly failed Lakewood venture of 2007 provided great practice for the spotlight attention and scrutiny restaurants receive when opening in Gig Harbor’s latest hot spot — Uptown Gig Harbor, a planned shopping, dining and movie-going complex that looks as though it were a Bellevue transplant. Elegant, graceful and beautifully appointed, this smaller space offers Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Prices are not the easily affordable ones of Tacoma.

JAKE: We stood at the front entrance and waited to be seated. And we stood there. And stood there some more. Two minutes of servers whizzing past, not even making eye contact, left me feeling invisible and rather awkward. Luckily there was a lot to look at — excellent softly illuminated lights, a huge floral arrangement, rich, dark woods. With barely a divider between rows of tables, there’s little privacy. After watching Jason blatantly eavesdrop, I had us moved to a table along the far left wall.

JASON: In my defense, less than 2 feet separated us from the already seated diners, and those people were more entertaining than your ramblings about the guy at work using your coffee creamer. Anyway, I was ready to get my burn on. I’m five-star all the way, baby! I’m always ready for heat. But first, Vietnamese spring rolls. These are the freshest, nicest, tightest rolled prawn, cucumber and rice noodle stuffed puppies out there. Peanut sauce made a good dunking pool.

JAKE: I’m more into the sweet, tangy chili sauce that coated the deep-fried tofu. A mound of 2-inch-by-1-inch pieces were lightly fried, not oily, and pleasantly firm — exactly what I wanted.  Next, a massive bowl of tom yum soup arrived. We opted for chicken here since we’d ordered beef and vegetarian entrees. I’m a huge fan of tom yum for the lemongrass. Plentiful woody pieces soaked alongside white onion, tomato, shitake mushroom, green bean, and disks of ginger in a creamy, coconut bath. I dumped the remaining tofu in. Soooo good.

JASON: This tom yum was thicker and richer than at Indochine and had a nice underlying lemony zing to it. A side of rice would make it a complete meal. However, I was saving room for the bulgogi. Oh bulgogi, my friend, bulgogi. I like saying that.

JAKE: Isn’t that a Phish song?

JASON: No, it’s “Golgi Apparatus,” and don’t act like you’re cool because you know a little Phish. My beef bulgogi was a luscious pile of marinated meat and veggies quickly tossed in a blazing hot wok. The spiciness burned the skin around my mouth. Mission accomplished; I got my hot. Gulping my Broker’s Promise martini did not help.

JAKE: Panang curry was my sweetheart — such a warm, enveloping flavor. With most of the same vegetables as the tom yum, the curry did not have as much tart citrus notes to it. Did you know Tran’s mom is the masterful head chef? She whips awesome food out like it’s nothing. Swimming Angel — a dish of sautéed spinach, big bean sprouts and julienne carrots topped with peanut sauce — is a comfort food item for sure. Speaking of comfort, I’m a sucker for a fried banana. The one I scored at Lele was warm and glorious.

JASON: I knew you had a dessert weakness somewhere. I’m glad you took my suggestion of ginger ice cream instead vanilla. I like the hot and cold together.  Surprising change from mint, man, that basil sprig was genius and added new flavor depth to the dessert overall.

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
Cuisine: Vietnamese and Thai
Scene: Mid-scale, casual dining
Drinkies: Full bar, Asian beers, specialty martini list, 99 percent West Coast wines


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