Tag Archives: John Le

Go North — In Downtown Los Gatos

The striking Non La cocktail at North.
The striking Non La cocktail at North.

Downtown Los Gatos has never been a stronghold of ethnic cuisines, so it was a welcome sight to see North open its doors last summer.

Named for its location on North Santa Cruz Avenue, this lovely restaurant serves contemporary Vietnamese cuisine with California influences. It’s a collaboration between two veteran restaurateurs: Hanna Pham, who for years had 19 Market in downtown San Jose; and John Le, who had the popular Three Seasons in downtown Palo Alto.

From all appearances, it’s already a hit in the community. The warm dining room, done up with a mural of a Vietnamese woman in a traditional ao dai, antique mirrors, reclaimed wood, and a wall of living plants, was packed the night my friends and I dined in December, paying our own tab at the end.

The mural that's a focal point in the dining room.
The mural that’s a focal point in the dining room.

Start with one of the fun cocktails, such as the Non La ($15), a play on a gin sour. The chic coupe is a study in green from the house-infused matcha gin blended with yellow chartreuse, orgeat, and lemon. Its frothy top is made of foaming bitters. A gold-hued turmeric-ginger tincture is poured atop through a stencil to recreate the restaurant’s logo, which on the drink almost looks like a pair of puckery lips. It’s an elegant drink that/s tangy, grassy, citrusy and delicious.

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