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Indochine Vietnamese Bistro restaurant review

See our latest 2013 review of Indochine Vietnamese Bistro. The following is our original 2007 post:

Evening restaurant review

Overall 74/100
Food 75/100
Service 72/100
Ambience 76/100

It was only very recently we stumbled across Indochine Vietnamese Bistro (hats off to the gourmand syndrome blog), on the site of the former Flying Scotsman and before that, Gepettos. Now three months into it’s tenure, things seem to be panning out for this new venture. On a recent Thursday outing, we had the standard worries about visiting a new restaurant. Would the inevitable kinks of a new operation be worked out? Would we be the only ones there? Would they have a liquor license yet? O.k., that last one might just be me!

Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised. Upon entering, we were quickly greeted by a friendly member of staff, who offered us our choice of tables. We also happily noted we were in the presence of lots of other happy-looking diners, and yes, most had glasses of wine. We chose a table by the window and sat down eagerly awaiting our menus.

The dining room was surprisingly upscale, bright and simply decorated with the odd South-East-Asian motif or knickknack scattered about. The staff were all professionally dressed in matching simple black outfits. It was not the mom and pop setup I had imagined in advance.

We quickly chose our drinks. The wine list was small, but well-rounded. I chose a pinot noir priced at a reasonable $5.29. Wendi went for the Jasmine Tea at $1.99. Although drinks were a simple choice, the food was far from. It’s safe to say that the Indochine menu is extensive. Appetizers, broths, stir frys, noodle dishes, rice dishes, curries, build your own fresh spring rolls. I’m sure I am forgetting even more options. It took more than a few moments to fully comprehend the extent of the menu.

Whilst a large menu is no bad thing, some direction from the service would have been appreciated. Some elements were a little confusing and we could have benefited from more explanation. E.g., just what would you get if you ordered a ‘broth’ as the menu suggested for family-style dining? In the end, we chose some common dishes to see how these fared.

We split an order of the Shrimp Lettuce Wraps ($8.99).

indochine lettuce wrap

These were about as good as any lettuce wraps I have ever had. In fact, better than most. The dish featured perfectly moist shrimp pieces and assorted diced vegetables served over mee-krob-like noodles. The shrimp and vegetables were coated in a slightly sweet sauce, just right, not overly cloying as so many renditions often are. Fresh Iceberg lettuce and a hoisin sauce completed the plate.

For our mains, we chose the Lemongrass Chicken ($9.99) and Chicken Curry ($9.99) to share:

indochine chicken lemongrass

indochine chicken curry

The first thing we noted was that the chicken in both cases was not exclusively breast meat. The meat was a wide selection and as such, required some “de-fat/skinning” at times. I was more than happy to oblige; however, Wendi was a little more apprehensive. I would assume this is a more traditional way of serving chicken, but I imagine it could be potentially off putting to more than a few Western palates. I’m not sure what the solution could be. Change the dish, change the menu, or leave things as they are. Maybe the majority of people aren’t as picky as we are. I don’t think I am too far off the mark though in betting a good deal of people expect breast meat.

This said, both dishes were very good. The thai-like curry was probably our favourite. Deliciously rich courtesy of the predominant coconut milk, not too spicy, but certainly not bland. Topped with onions, the sauce also included a mix of both sweet and standard potatoes. That may be my first sweet potato in curry and now I want more!

The lemongrass chicken arrived at the table with a very powerful aroma of fish sauce. After my initial apprehension subsided, the flavour was great and not at all what we expected. On more than one ocassion, we both commented, “how interesting.” We both meant that in a good way mind you. The entrees came with a generous portion of steamed white rice (brown was also available).

Portion sizes were commendably large. Indeed, the total bill was roughly $40 for two glasses of wine, a pot of tea, an appetizer and two entrees, a bargain. With the leftovers, I have no doubt we could have happily fed a third person. Based on this first experience, we shall certainly be back to Indochine, and ready for even more adventure next time!

Come and discuss this review and other Salt Lake City restaurants on our new foodie discussion forum here.

I’m not aware of a website for Indochine, it is located at 230 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT

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23 thoughts on “Indochine Vietnamese Bistro restaurant review”

  1. You weren’t the only one who had a problem with the Lemon grass chicken. I found it to be absolutely repulsive. The dish was not aesthetically appealing at all. The smell can easily be compared to that of body odor and the taste was retched. My boyfriend ordered the sweet and sour pork, it looked a but ominous but I decided to try it as I couldn’t possibly gag down my own meal. Not to my surprise, I took one bite and resorted to spitting it into my napkin. The staff was fine but I will never step foot into that restaurant again.

  2. Sorry to hear about your experience Caitlin.

    Are you familiar with fish sauce? It maybe that it isn’t your cup of tea. I’ll be the first to admit that the Lemon Grass chicken is very very aromatic and that could be problematic for some. I’m a huge thai food fan and found it strong.

    I’m certainly going to try Indochine again but opt for some different dishes, maybe the fresh make your own spring rolls or range of soups/broths etc.

    I’ll be sure to post a follow up review!

  3. This is quite possibly the best restaurant in Salt Lake City. Having arrived in salt lake not long after it opened, i have eaten there nearly every week, and love all of the dishes. Being European, the thing I love the most at this place is that there is no compromise for ‘fussy Americans’ who expect their oriental food to be deep fried and smothered in sweet sauce. Nope, this place has traditional and authentic dishes. That makes it a one in a million find in Utah!

  4. I had pho here, and found the meat and broth very tasty, butthe helping was small, the price high, and the accompanying fresh vegetables lacking. Instead of fresh basil, cilantro, and saw-leaf herb, they served what I swear was green-leaf lettuce! Much better Vietnamese soup can ba found at any number of places on Redwood Road, including Pho 99, Asia Palace, and most recently, Pho Green Papaya. Some of these places are a bit divey, but a big fresh bowl is 3 bucks cheaper.

    Nice site. I’ll be visiting again.

  5. I just have to respond to our buddy Jim Smith (a european??? the name couldn’t be more utah). obviously you’re new to salt lake and the us, because 1) this is not even in the top 3 best vietnamese restaurants in SLC let alone the best resto in all the city. may not be your style but head to redwood road for divey but authentic phenomenal cuisine from around the world and 2) go ahead and keep up with the american stereotypes, it’s still won’t make them true. the US is too big and diverse to be put into the xenophobic european’s little box. i’ve lived in europe for several years and the ethnic food there can’t touch the good old usa… it’s called a melting pot for a reason buddy. London i’m sure is world class in variety and quality but i was in paris for quite some time and aside from phenomenal middle eastern food, menus are pretty tired on the continent. btw- by my count indochine is the 4th best vietnamese place i know of in the valley

  6. Re: Out-of-town snobs and Americanized Asian Food

    Yeah, it’s easy to have a knee-jerk angry reaction to Salt Lake transplants who constantly find things to deride about the town. But really, I’m glad there are some people who don’t say “where did you go to high school? Oh, my cousin went there.” and on and on. I just disregard the complaining.

    And honestly, when I’m in the right mood, there is nothing better than crispy fried chicken in a sticky-sweet sauce. With good white rice, it’s great comfort food. If you’re feeling sad and lonely, get Sesame or General Tso’s chicken. Downtown, I get takeout from Canton Village on 100 South or eat in at Little World, Shanghai Cafe (which has amazing vegetarian chicken), or The Golden Dragon, all in the vicinity of 1300 South and State.

  7. Pingback: Gastronomic Salt Lake City | Indochine Vietnamese Bistro

  8. ate here for the first time last week. had the beef combo pho, mussels & spring rolls. high prices & mediocre food. i think i will stick with the drive out to pho green papaya in the future.

  9. I’ve eaten there several times, not because I thought it was going to be authentic Vietnamese, but because I really like the fried spring roll, vegetable, and rice noodle salad. It’s good, service is adequate, prices for lunch are reasonable. Now if they would only switch to Diet Coke.

  10. As a student at the U, I love to take advantage of their lunch specials – something no one has mentioned yet. For $5.99 you get a heaping bowl of pan fried rice, vegetables, and your choice of meat: sweet and sour pork, lemongrass chicken, general tso’s chicken, tofu, etc. It is extremely tasty, at a good price, and quick.

  11. Does anybody know where to get true vegetarian pho? Every place I call has pho without meat or with tofu, but it still always has the beef broth. I’m looking for one with a vegetable broth. I realize it probably isn’t even called pho if it doesn’t have beef broth. Does anybody know what it would be called? Thanks for the website. It’s really great!!

  12. Give Shanghai Cafe on 1300 South State a try. I haven’t looked for vegetarian pho there, but I regularly eat their vegetarian chicken dishes. Thay’re top notch.

  13. I love this place. I understand why some people do not enjoy it, however. I don’t think that it’s a good idea coming here for “authentic Vietnamese”. Given that the name of the resto is French for the region occupied by colonial France (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc) I have to recommend flipping to the back of the menu to find the Vietnamese-French fusion dishes.

    The beef stew baguette and the “sizzling crepe” are examples of incredible dishes that were formed as a positive side of the French influence.

  14. Bad experience with food there. Give Gossip a try at 3500 South and east of Redwood Road. Great Fried Spring Roll and Amazing salad bowls!

  15. We ate here for the 3rd time and had mediocre service, mediocre food that was expensive and the worst thing- the flies! We were battling off 4 flies the entire time until I smashed one that landed on my plate. The new waiter was trying, but was busy doing all the busywork and we kept having to flag him down. Tea was reasonable. $15 each for lunch was too $ for what we received.
    My favorite places are Chanon Thai on 9th. The pho here was good, but not filled with all the fixin’s like usual…had to ask for jalepeno’s.

  16. Vegetarian pho_ my fave place Mi La Cai on State and about 1000 South. Love love love their food, pho, bun, prices, location, ambiance. Have been loyal customer for 5 years. They win all the awards except I always love having green tea and coconut ice cream selections.

  17. Things were going well until my wife’s entree came out. The beef was a rubbery, flavorless disaster. We told the server. He brought to our table who I assume was the owner/manager. After explaining that my wife didn’t like it, this woman stated that we’d they would only replace a meal “if we made a mistake”. She said we would need to pay full price for another dish and was quite condescending and disrespectful. My food was good (chicken), but the restaurant fails miserably in terms of how to run a business. Not to mention the sorry excuse for beef.

    Just for context, I don’t think either one of us have ever complained about food at a restaurant or sent a plate back.

    Congratulations to Indochine for earning a solid ‘F’.

  18. I have been returning to Indochine for the past three months for the Pho with brisket. It is a great dish- complex broth, wonderfully textured noodles counterbalanced with the crunch of sprouts, rich substance of biting into brisket slice topped with subtle burn of peppers. The crepes and wok fried dish are good too. The service is always friendly and welcoming although I have yet to be waited upon by the same person. The dark toned interior is warm and inviting and complements the food that is light. The outside patios are a nice way to enjoy the warm evenings. I would avoid dishes with a curious processed and pressed shrimp flavor.

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